Presidential offence: French authorities crack down on insults aimed at Emmanuel Macron

Since the start of the protest movement against the government's pension reforms, French police officers have been arresting more and more demonstrators over insults aimed at President Emmanuel Macron. This offence is commonly known as 'lèse-majesté' - or in this case 'lèse-Macron'. However, a decade ago the crime of insulting the president of the Republic was declared to be in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights and was removed from French law. As Jérôme Hourdeaux reports, lawyers say they are worried that the government no longer appears to tolerate criticism.

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A man in his 70s punished for a banner saying “Screw you, Macron”; a woman held in custody and later summonsed to appear in court for describing the French president online as “garbage”; another demonstrator placed in custody for having made a rude gesture towards the head of state. The movement against the pension reforms has highlighted the growing crackdown on expressions of discontent made by individuals during social protests.

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