French MPs condemn 'authoritarian' plans to curtail gilets jaunes protests | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


French MPs condemn 'authoritarian' plans to curtail gilets jaunes protests

French politicians have approved controversial measures to ban what the government calls “brute” troublemakers from street demonstrations as gilets jaunes (yellow vests) anti-government protests enter their 12th week.

There were tense and heated exchanges in parliament late on Wednesday night, including from rebels within Emmanuel Macron’s own centrist party, as deputies backed giving regional prefects – local state security officials – the power to ban people presumed to be violent from taking part in demonstrations.

Deputies on the left and some on the centre said the measures posed an “authoritarian” threat to civil liberties.

The most controversial measure in the bill – which angered some rebels in the French president’s party – means that individuals deemed to represent a “particularly serious” threat to public order will be prevented from taking part in street protests. Their names will be added to a special police file. Any person presumed to have been involved in violence in previous demonstrations can be banned from street protests, but they don’t need to have been previously convicted. Regional prefects, rather than judges, will have new powers to impose the ban.

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