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Paris (CNSNews.com) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s party is deeply divided over legislation aiming at stopping violence before and during protest demonstrations that have been roiling the country, questioning whether it threatens constitutionally-protected activity.
On Tuesday, the lower legislature passed the law by 387 votes to 92. Seventy-four members abstained, including 50 members of Macron’s Republic in Motion party.
Lawmakers - Provisions - Law - Risk - Freedom
Skeptical lawmakers see provisions of the law putting at risk freedom to demonstrate as guaranteed by the constitution. The law makes it illegal to hide one's face while taking part in street demonstrations, either with a mask or any other concealing article.
During so-called “yellow vest” demonstrations since late last year, some protestors – with their faces covered to hide their identity – have employed violence, with attacks against police, damage to stores and cars, and vandalism at monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe.
Law - Targets - People - Behavior - Threat
The new law targets people whose behavior is deemed to constitute a threat to public order, such as those known to have committed violence during past protests, or those in regular relationship with violent individuals.
An absence of further detail about who may be forbidden to demonstrate is the reason why many lawmakers oppose the new law.
Critics - Law - Prefects - Representatives - State
Critics are also unhappy that the law empowers prefects – representatives of the central state in the country’s 101 regions, appointed by the president – to forbid a person from demonstrating, without the involvement of a judge.
Republic in Motion lawmaker Charles de Courson, who abstained, warned against “the return of the Vichy regime,” a reference to the wartime government that collaborated with the Nazis.
De - Courson - Father - Fought - Nazis
De Courson, whose father fought against the Nazis, congratulated the 49 other members of the party who also chose not to support the legislation.
“The laws that exist are enough, there is no need for a new one,” he told reporters. “To believe...
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