French PM proposes new law to tackle unrest

Photo: EPA Edouard Philippe before making "public order" announcements at TF1 studios, 7 January.

French PM Edouard Philippe on Monday unveiled plans to ban participation in unauthorised demonstrations as the government scrambles to try to end weeks of violent “Yellow Vest” protests, news wires reported.

Philippe said the government would back a “new law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare protests, those who take part in unauthorised demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks”. He also announced plans to ban “troublemakers” known to the authorities from taking part in demonstrations, in the same way known football hooligans in the past had been banned from stadiums. “That measure worked well,” he said, referring to the stadium ban. According to him the troublemakers have to pay for damage caused to businesses and property during the protests. On Saturday, demonstrators used a construction site vehicle to smash open the doors of a government building. A former professional boxer was also caught on camera beating up police officers.

“Those who question our institutions will not have the last word,” Philippe said, announcing plans to deploy 80,000 security force members nationwide for the next Yellow Vest demonstration expected at the weekend.

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