Protests against controversial security law in Paris turn violent

Protesters and riot police clashed in Paris, France over a controversial draft security law.

Thousands of people, including members of the anti-government Yellow Vest movement, had been marching peacefully in the capital when pockets of protesters, dressed in black and with their faces covered, started launching projectiles at riot police, Reuters reported.

Police resorted to firing tear gas after windows of a supermarket, property agency and bank were smashed.

On Saturday some 100 rallies were organised in France, apart from Paris, the cities of Marseille, Lyon and Rennes also witnessed demonstrations.

One of its most controversial elements has been Article 24, which sought to criminalise the publication of images of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity”.

The legislature makes sharing images of on-duty police punishable with up to a year in prison and a maximum USD $53,360 fine.

Other proposed measures include allowing police to use camera-equipped drones and easier access to CCTV footage.

Opponents say the bill undermines press freedom to document police brutality.

France has seen weekly nationwide protests over the draft bill, which intensified after footage emerged of three white policemen racially abusing and beating a black music producer.

Responding to the backlash, President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party said last week that parts of the law would be rewritten. However, this has not done enough to assuage its opponents.

On Friday Mr Macron acknowledged in a live interview with Brut “there are police who are violent” and said “they need to be punished”.