The French parliament has passed a controversial bill on “global security” and its heavily criticized provision on penalizing the malicious dissemination of images of the police, after deputies voted in its favor.
On Thursday, the National Assembly gave the government’s global security bill the green light, passing the motion with 75 votes for and 33 against, despite sustained opposition from civil society groups who claim the bill will limit public freedoms.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the law would protect officers from online calls for violence and has widely been supported by law enforcement unions.
The left has already announced their intention to take the matter to the Constitutional Council in the hope that the bill will not be implemented. Venting his opposition, Alexis Corbière of the party, La France Insoumise, said this is “a text of global insecurity because it casts suspicion on the police” and prevents “citizen criticism.”
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The bill includes the particularly controversial Article 24, which provoked major demonstrations in the autumn and new year despite the pandemic. Article 24 has been rewritten since its first reading, but still penalizes the sharing of images that maliciously identifies police officers in operations by face or name.
Images shared with the intention of identifying the spouse, partner, or child of a law enforcement officer will also be punished, with sentences of up to five years in prison and a €75,000 fine.
The bill is not limited to Article 24. The text aims to establish a “security continuum” for state security forces, municipal police forces and the private security sector. The bill also contains provisions for the extended use of police body cameras and drones.
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