Amnesty condemns police arrests of people that attended mass demonstrations towards controversial invoice.

French authorities have used “unlawful ways” together with arbitrary detentions to “crush protests and silence critics” of the proposed International Safety Invoice, Amnesty Worldwide mentioned on Monday.

If handed, the legislation would curb individuals’s means to share photographs figuring out law enforcement officials within the media and on-line and prolong authorities’ surveillance powers.

Since November, 1000’s have protested towards the plan and a whole bunch have been arrested within the demonstrations.

“Folks protesting towards the damaging International Safety Invoice have been arrested and detained on spurious grounds,” mentioned Marco Perolini, Amnesty Worldwide’s Europe researcher.

“The heavy-handed means through which French police have handled these protests solely emphasises why scrutiny over policing is so obligatory. This invoice might stop journalists from reporting on police violence, an especially harmful precedent to set.”

Perolini accused police of arresting peaceable protesters, describing behaviour by some officers as strikes that got here straight out of the “human rights violators’ playbook”.

“These harmful practices pose a grave menace to the rights of individuals in France,” Perolini mentioned.

‘Arbitrary arrests’

Amnesty highlighted 142 arrests within the French capital, Paris, on December 12, as problematic.

It mentioned 124 of these arrested had been put in pre-charge detention, and that in almost 80 p.c of these circumstances, protesters weren’t ultimately prosecuted.

“Many of those protesters had been arrested for non-violent crimes which can be vaguely outlined in French legislation; these embrace the crime of contempt towards public officers, and collaborating in a gaggle with a view to making ready violent acts,” the rights group mentioned.

“Exactly due to the obscure definition of those offences, there are inadequate grounds to justify lots of the arrests and pre-charge detentions,” it added.

Amnesty mentioned it had raised related considerations concerning “arbitrary arrests” throughout France’s so-called yellow vest protests, which erupted in 2018, in addition to protests towards a COVID-19 lockdown final yr.

The International Safety Invoice, which might be voted on within the French Senate subsequent month, has been broadly seen as a rightward lurch by French President Emmanuel Macron.

However after the laws was adopted by France’s Nationwide Meeting and the primary protests towards it passed off, Macron’s La Republique En Marche (LREM) get together pledged in November to “completely rewrite” Article 24 of the invoice.

Critics of the invoice argue it might cease individuals from exposing police brutality.

Macron can be below strain over a deliberate legislation to control how Islam is practised in France, with the president on a path towards what he has known as “Islamist separatism”.

Some observers imagine the anti-separatism invoice unfairly targets Muslims, and is an try and win votes amongst right-wing residents earlier than the following election, in 2022.

Final week, France was downgraded from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” in The Economist’s International Democracy Index 2020.