Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Disputed policing bill passes in France


PARIS — France’s parliament passed a security bill Thursday to extend police powers despite criticism from civil-rights activists who fear it threatens efforts to denounce police abuse.

The bill was approved 75-33 at the National Assembly, where President Emmanuel Macron’s party, which proposed the measure, has a large majority. The Senate already has adopted the bill.

“Policemen and gendarmes are the republic’s children and they must be protected because they protect us every day,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said after the vote.

To quell criticism, lawmakers redrafted the most controvers­ial article, which now says that anyone with “obvious” harmful intent who helps identify on-duty police officers faces punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine equivalent to almost $90,000.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Paris in November to denounce the initial provision that was making it illegal to simply publish images of police officers with harmful intent.

Opponents say the new draft remains vague and subject to interpreta­tion by police officers. They also fear it will intimidate people trying to fight police abuse and discrimina­tion by taking and publishing pictures and videos.

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