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75 arrested in protests against security bill in France

Clashes reported in multiple places, police seize sound equipment, fire tear gas

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published January 17,2021
AA Photo

Multiple clashes were reported in the first protests of the year in France on Saturday as thousands rallied in the streets across the country to condemn the contentious "comprehensive security bill", with the police arresting 75 demonstrators.

According to the organizers, over 200,000 people participated in 88 rallies throughout the country, while police authorities maintained that the turnout was around 34,000.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin took to Twitter to thank police for mobilizing to supervise the demonstrations.

Darmanin revealed that 75 people were arrested for violating rules during the protests, including 24 in Paris, while at least 12 police and gendarmes were injured during the clashes.

The clashes took place in Paris as the police intervened "to prevent the holding of an undeclared rave party near the protests site," the Paris police posted on Twitter. The "rave" included vehicles with sound systems attempting to join the protests without police permission.

The #StopSécuritéGlobaleLaw coordination initiative which organized the "freedom marches," said the processions were joined by a number of organizers of "ravers''. The police seized the sound equipment in Paris and Montpellier, it said. In Lyon and Nantes, crowds were dispersed through tear gas.

Approved by the National Assembly last November and is likely to be examined by the Senate, in March, the security bill, which criminalizes dissemination of videos and images of police on social media, allows mass surveillance through drones, CCTV and body-worn cameras.