French police use arrests and new laws to chill protests


Human rights lawyers allege that during protests in March 2023 police arbitrarily arrested numerous protesters with the goal of chilling protests. In similar cases during the 2018 "yellow vest" protests, only 5,000 of 11,000 people arrested were eventually prosecuted, according to the government's own figures. The arrests are supported by laws including a prohibition on participating in crowds preparing acts of violence or that have the potential to trouble public order. During visits by president Emmanuel Macron to outlying prefects in April 2023, police decreed that the use of "portable sonorous devices" (banging pots and pans) was banned citing laws intended to prevent terrorist attacks. The trend, say human rights lawyers, is a deliberate strategy by the prefects to violate the law in order to force legislative change in the direction of their acts.

Publication:  The Intercept

Writer: Cole Stangler

Publication date:  2023-05-021

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