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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Setback for Macron as Court Vetoes Key Plank of Anti-Protest Law


7Dnews London

Fri, 05 Apr 2019 13:23 GMT

French president Emmanuel Macron's new crackdown on anti-government protests with tougher police tactics, will also include controversial new legislation against protesters, some of which was rejected by France’s Constitutional Court, according to Reuters.

 However, France's Constitutional Court has approved a new bill that will give police the power to search demonstrators and ban them from covering their faces. The move comes in response to the “yellow vest" demonstrations that have descended into violent riots over the past four months and caused unease within Macron's party.

But the court struck down another provision, which would have given police the right to ban anyone pre-emptively identified as a troublemaker from demonstrating. The court said in a statement that the measure had been drafted too loosely, and did not specify that a person would have had to have been especially violent or destructive in a previous protest to be deemed a threat to public order.

Along with opposition politicians, Macron asked the court to examine the legislation, in an attempt to placate the left-leaning wing of his parliamentary majority.

The rules were passed by France's senate and the lower house of parliament, where Macron's party has a comfortable majority, but an unprecedented number of his lawmakers abstained.

One MP, Matthieu Orphelin, left the ruling party as a result. He welcomed the court's decision on Thursday, April 4th, saying that it showed "that our doubts were justified."

France's human rights watchdog in March said it feared that a steady erosion of civil liberties was taking place, reflected in the police tactics used during the "yellow vest" protests. Thousands of protesters have since been arrested and many wounded, drawing scrutiny over the use of crowd control weapons like dispersal "sting-ball" grenades.