French lawmakers approve anti-riot bill

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-06 04:03:20|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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PARIS, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The French National Assembly on Tuesday gave the green light to the government to implement an anti-riot law which would toughen sanctions against undeclared protests and troublemakers who use rallies to challenge public safety.

A total of 387 lawmakers voted in favor, 92 against and 74 abstained, among them 50 deputies from the ruling party, The Republic On the Move (LREM) which has so far be very united.

Proposed in the wake of violent "yellow vest" protests that plunged Paris into its worst civil unrest in decades, the anti-riot bill triggered disquiet in the President Emmanuel Macron camp that may test his majority.

"Our abstention is not a sign of any political stance or distrust of our majority, but of our attachment to the rule of law in which, under no pretext, the freedom to demonstrate can not be altered," said several LREM lawmakers in a statement.

Following the draft law presented by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe last month, prefects, or local state security officials could impose a ban on people deemed to pose a threat to public safety.

Furthermore, the bill makes covering the face during a protest an offence, with those who do not respect it risk to be jailed one year and pay a fine of 15,000 euros (17,118 U.S. dollars).

It also allows police to search bags and cars in the immediate vicinity of a demonstration.

After the National Assembly's approval, the bill will pass to the Senate for debate in March. (1 euro =1.141 U.S. dollar)