The video of a brutal police operation sparked massive protests in France. Investigations are being conducted against four officials. But that’s not all – because the controversial security law also gets management in trouble.
Paris (AP) – The protest against police brutality and the controversial security law have caused a crisis at the top of France.
President Emmanuel Macron received Prime Minister Jean Castex, the ministers of the interior and justice and representatives of parliament in the Elysée Palace on Monday to find a way out. After the brutal police operation against a music producer, the judiciary launched an investigation against four security forces. Two were taken into custody and two were placed under judicial supervision.
Authorities say more than 100,000 people took to the streets across the country over the weekend – demonstrating, among other things, against a bill that could limit the publication of police footage during operations. According to the government, the law should better protect the police. Critics, however, see freedom of the press at risk. CCTV footage showing police brutally attacking the music producer and the aggressive evacuation of a refugee camp had recently sparked debate and outraged.
At the meeting at the Élysée Palace, now scheduled for short notice, the main focus of the discussion is reported to be the controversial article of the Security Act, which criminalizes filming with bad intentions by police officers. There was initially no official confirmation from the presidential palace for the meeting. The House of Commons has already approved the bill and now it is the turn of the Senate.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had repeatedly defended the law and had come under pressure during the debate. He was scheduled to speak to a parliamentary committee that evening. Pierre Person, member of the presidential party La République En Marche, called for the deletion of the controversial article 24 in the newspaper Le Parisien and announced that he would campaign for it. “French society has never been more divided than it is today, and Article 24 contributes to that,” he said.
The lawyer of the attacked music producer said on the channel Franceinfo that he was “satisfied” with the investigations that have now been launched against the police. In contrast, some police unions judged the judiciary’s decision, especially with regard to pre-trial detention, as too harsh. It is hoped that this was not due to media pressure and that only the elements of the case were taken into account, Thierry Clair of the Unsa police union told the broadcaster.