On November 24, 2020, the National Assembly adopted the law proposal in the first reading with amendments. The proposed law concerns surveillance tools (pedestrian cameras, drones…) and the police forces’ protection by penalizing the people who would diffuse their images or buy fireworks mortars… It also strengthens municipal police forces and supervises private security companies.
So, why does this law engender a huge debate?
This is largely due to the modification of the law of July 29, 1881, on the press’ freedom. Some people say that we will fall back into an era where we will no longer have the right to freedom of expression. Indeed, if somebody publishes online the face or any element of identification of a member of the forces of law in action, with malicious intent, he will be punished with one year of prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. For the authors of the proposal, it is a question of protecting law enforcement on social networks.
But we should first set up the context in France to the present day, and the rise of claims against the police – which reflects an unethical and racist image. At least 133,000 people, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, and 500,000, according to the organizers, marched throughout France on Saturday, November 28 against this law proposal. The demonstrators also denounced police violence and racism. “It is the people of freedom who marched all over France to tell the government that they don’t want their “global security” law, that they refuse generalized surveillance and drones, that they want to be able to film and broadcast the interventions of the forces of law and order,” reacted the StopLoiSécuritéGlobale coordination.
— Guillaume Daudin (@GuillaumeDaudin) November 28, 2020
And by speaking about racism, we should talk about this horrible scene that revolted the crowds. On November 21st, Michel Zecler went out unmasked when he spotted a police car. He then decided to return to his office, but three policemen enter behind him and stopped him at the entrance. The very violent, “shocking” sequence was filmed by the CCTV camera placed at the entrance of the studio, and Emmanuel Macron claimed that “these people must be punished and have no place in the national police,” he said. “There are undoubtedly individual problems, there are undoubtedly also structural problems. It is necessary to give the policemen and gendarmes the means to set an example that is demanded of them”.
Ça s'est passé samedi à Paris. 15 minutes de coups et d'insultes racistes.
La folle scène de violences policières que nous révélons est tout simplement inouie et édifiante.
Il faut la regarder jusqu'au bout pour mesurer toute l'ampleur du problème. pic.twitter.com/vV00dOtmsg
— Loopsider (@Loopsidernews) November 26, 2020
Finally, the 24th article of the proposed law will be completely rewritten. The president criticized the government on Monday for having had to intervene in this matter, targeting the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. What would be the world if we could no more show police faces who are doing a bad job by not respecting the rules and abusing their power? They will be free to do anything they’d like to and nobody will have the power to denounce it anymore.