The duty to protest

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Last week the French authorities banned a planned march in Paris by trade unions opposed to labour law reforms, before eventually backing down partially and allowing a more limited demonstration. Here Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel argues that demonstrating is a constitutional right and that, by banning the march that the trade unions wanted, the government violated the fundamental law that guarantees all our freedoms. It is, he writes, our duty to resist this unlawful act in order to defend our common ideal: democracy.

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In its headlong rush the Hollande presidency, with its armed wing in the shape of the government headed by prime minister Manuel Valls, is compromising that most fundamental of things: democracy. Democracy as an ideal, inspiration and a requirement. That common language that allows us to exchange views, deliberate and decide above and beyond our diverse leanings. That shared culture that enables us to bring people together with respect for opponents, even adversaries.