Why France's planned 'anti-rioter' law threatens citizens not criminals

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Despite strong criticism, including from inside the ranks of the ruling La République en Marche party, the French government's so-called 'anti-rioters' bill was due to be voted through by members of the National Assembly on Tuesday February 5th. Mediapart spoke to a number of prominent lawyers who are well-known defenders of civil liberties, including a supporter of President Emmanuel Macron, who have expressed their concern about yet another piece of repressive law and order legislation. Ellen Salvi reports.

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It was a cry of alarm that resonated far beyond the walls of the National Assembly. It came on Wednesday January 30th 2019, as members of the French Parliament's lower house were debating the government's planned law on the prevention and punishment of violence during demonstrations, otherwise and better known as the “anti-rioters” law. The centrist MP Charles de Courson suddenly expressed out loud what many, including people in the ruling La République en Marche (LREM), have been thinking.