I’m happy to see Amnesty International picking on the French government for a change, as their new president seeks to extend his country’s State of Emergency for a SIXTH term since December 2015.
I found a report in our English language daily, Hürriyet Daily News but a quick Google search failed to turn up coverage in any mainstream Western media. They much prefer attacking Turkey, and accusing its democratically elected President of being a dictator.
Disproportionate restrictions on demonstrations under the State of Emergency in France reveals that hundreds of unjustified measures restricting freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assembly have been issued under the guise of countering terrorism.
“Emergency laws intended to protect the French people from the threat of terrorism are instead being used to restrict their rights to protest peacefully,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s researcher on France.
“Under the cover of the state of emergency, rights to protest have been stripped away with hundreds of activists, environmentalists, and labour rights campaigners unjustifiably banned from participating in protests.”
Following the horrific Paris attacks on 13 November 2015, France’s state of emergency, introduced a day later, has been renewed five times normalizing a range of intrusive measures. These include powers to ban demonstrations on vague grounds and prevent individuals attending protests. Last week, President Macron indicated that he will ask parliament to extend it for a sixth time.
The state of emergency allows prefects to ban any gathering as a precautionary measure on very broad and undefined grounds of ‘threat to public order’. These powers to restrict the right to freedom of peaceful assembly have frequently been used disproportionately.
Between November 2015 and 5 May 2017, authorities used emergency powers to issue 155 decrees prohibiting public assemblies, in addition to banning dozens of protests using ordinary French law. They also imposed 639 measures preventing specific individuals participating in public assemblies. Of these, 574 were targeted at those protesting against proposed labour law reforms. Moreover, according to media reports, authorities imposed dozens of similar measures to prevent people from participating in protests after the second round of the presidential elections on 7 May.