PARIS (Reuters) -French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party agreed on Monday to completely rewrite a draft plan that would have curbed the freedom to share images identifying police officers, after large protests over the weekend against police violence.
More than 133,000 people, including 46,000 in Paris alone, demonstrated against the draft bill and in favour of free speech on Saturday.
The rallies followed the publication of video footage of a Black man being beaten up by three police officers inside his own music studio earlier this month that Macron has branded “shameful” for France.
A provision in the draft law known as article 24, a key plank in Macron’s plans to court right-wing voters by being tougher on law and order ahead of his 2022 re-election bid, had sparked outrage in the media and on the left of his own party.
French journalists and even the government’s own independent ombudsman on human rights said the article was too vague and could have a chilling effect on people wanting to expose police brutality.
Many of Macron’s more centre-left followers have expressed dismay at what they see as the president’s “conservative turn” in recent months.
The stated aim of the broader “general security” bill is to provide better protection for French police officers, whose unions said were under heavy strain after months of violent “yellow vest” protests. »