May 22, 2024

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Nearly 150 arrested at Paris protest over security bill

PARIS — Paris police took nearly 150 people into custody at what quickly became a tense and sometimes ill-tempered protest Saturday against proposed security laws, with officers wading into the crowds of several thousand to haul away suspected trouble-makers.

Police targeted protesters they suspected might coalesce together into violent groups like those who vandalized stores and vehicles and attacked officers at previous demonstrations.

The interior minister said police detained 142 people. Long lines of riot officers and police vehicles with blue lights flashing escorted Saturday’s march through rain-slickened streets. They hemmed in protesters, seeking to prevent the flare-up of violence that marked many previous demonstrations.

A police water cannon doused demonstrators at the end of the march, as night fell.

Marchers were protesting against a proposed security law that has sparked successive weekends of demonstrations and against a draft law aimed at combating Islamist radicalism.

The security bill’s most contested measure could make it more difficult to film police officers. It aims to outlaw the publication of images with intent to cause harm to police. Critics fear it could erode media freedom and make it more difficult to expose police brutality. The provision caused such an uproar that the government has decided to rewrite it.

Slogans on placards carried by marchers in Paris said “I will never stop filming” and “Camera equals mutilation?”

There were also protests in other cities. In Lyon, in the southeast, authorities reported five arrests among people they said attacked police and sought to loot shops.

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