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France: Police use tear gas as thousands rally against security bill in Nantes03:12

France: Police use tear gas as thousands rally against security bill in Nantes

France, Nantes
January 16, 2021 at 21:20 GMT +00:00 · Published

Tear gas and a water cannon were deployed by police as thousands of protesters came out to demonstrate in Nantes against the French government's proposed 'global security' bill on Saturday.

The protest went ahead despite the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis and restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

"The fact that the government takes advantage of the epidemic and of the lockdown to pass such authoritarian laws is really a shame. The epidemic allows everything to pass, it's quite practical for them," deplored Camille, a protester.

With the COVID-19 vaccination programme having already started in France, authorities announced a 18:00 (17:00 GMT) nation-wide curfew on Thursday in a bid to stop the spread of the virus, with Saturday being the first of at least 15 expected days of the newly implemented restrictions.

The French authorities announced late last year that they would rewrite Article 24 of the security bill; the provision that restricts the filming of police officers, following weeks of protests. The law in its current form makes it illegal to disseminate images in which police officers can be personally identified, among other things. The bill has been heavily criticised by activists and journalists who say it violates freedom of the press, as well as UN human rights experts who have said the bill is in violation of international law.

France: Police use tear gas as thousands rally against security bill in Nantes03:12
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Tear gas and a water cannon were deployed by police as thousands of protesters came out to demonstrate in Nantes against the French government's proposed 'global security' bill on Saturday.

The protest went ahead despite the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis and restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

"The fact that the government takes advantage of the epidemic and of the lockdown to pass such authoritarian laws is really a shame. The epidemic allows everything to pass, it's quite practical for them," deplored Camille, a protester.

With the COVID-19 vaccination programme having already started in France, authorities announced a 18:00 (17:00 GMT) nation-wide curfew on Thursday in a bid to stop the spread of the virus, with Saturday being the first of at least 15 expected days of the newly implemented restrictions.

The French authorities announced late last year that they would rewrite Article 24 of the security bill; the provision that restricts the filming of police officers, following weeks of protests. The law in its current form makes it illegal to disseminate images in which police officers can be personally identified, among other things. The bill has been heavily criticised by activists and journalists who say it violates freedom of the press, as well as UN human rights experts who have said the bill is in violation of international law.