French authorities ban protest against police violence in Paris

Protests against police violence scheduled for Saturday in Paris could not take place due to police shortages, French authorities have confirmed. NGOs said the ban marked an “increasingly harsh” approach by the authorities.


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At noon on Saturday, judges at the Paris Administrative Court rejected an appeal by a national organization against police violence (la National Anti-Police Violence Coordinating Organization) to allow Saturday’s demonstrations to continue on Place de la République in the French capital from 3:00 p.m.

On Wednesday, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced a ban until July 15 on any demonstrations “directly related to the riots” that 17-year-old Naher M. ( Nahel M.) was shot and killed by police on June 27. In the Paris suburb of Nanterre, police officers pull over traffic officers.

The killing of the teenager comes after nearly a week of violent demonstrations against police violence in France.

read moreFrench police detained for manslaughter after shooting teenage driver

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said on Thursday that Saturday’s protests could not go ahead because of the risk of “disturbing public order”.

Nunes said there was a lack of police to ensure the event was safe after the riots and the “vigorous mobilization” of security forces during France’s annual Bastille Day celebrations on July 14.

NGOs, trade unions and leftist parties reacted angrily to the ban.

“The police headquarters, with the support of the judges of the Paris Administrative Court, is blocking all channels for the democratic expression of perfectly legitimate demands,” said Lucie Simon, a lawyer representing organizers of Saturday’s protest.

Following the court ruling, organizers canceled the event hours before it was due to take place.

According to an Agence France-Presse reporter, about 15 law enforcement vehicles were still waiting for the arrival of demonstrators on Republic Square.

Pierre Brunisot of the French NGO League for Human Rights said the situation in France was becoming “increasingly oppressive”, with protesters increasingly feeling they needed “permission” from the police to demonstrate.

Security forces ‘exhausted’

Speaking before the Administrative Court on Saturday morning, a representative of the police headquarters said the issue was “not the subject of the demonstrations, but the possibility of participation by violent elements”.

He also pointed to the massive mobilization of security forces on Thursday and Friday to monitor July 14 celebrations, as well as Nahel M.

Some 10,000 police and gendarmes working in Paris and the inner city on Thursday and Friday are now on furlough, an official from the Department of Public Order and Transport (DOPC) said, meaning only “five units” will be available for the weekend.

Last week, the capital’s police chief also banned a march in the Paris suburb of Val d’Oise to honor Adama Traoré, who died shortly after being arrested by gendarmes in July 2016.

Police said they did not have enough staff to ensure the safety of the event.

“The police are exhausted,” Nunes said at a hearing in the administrative court that approved the ban.

The march was banned for the second time after organizers moved the venue to Place de la République in Paris. On July 8, about 2,000 people gathered there.

(AFP France 24 hours news)

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