French parliament adopts security law

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PARIS

The French parliament on Thursday adopted a comprehensive security bill that extends police powers and criminalizes publishing images of on-duty police officers.

The bill was approved 75 – 33 in the National Assembly despite opposition by the Socialist Party that vowed to take the bill to the Constitutional Council before it is signed into law by the president. It was adopted by the Senate last week.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin welcomed the vote on Twitter and said it was an “unprecedented step forward in strengthening our country’s security continuum.”

The bill authorizes police officers, including private security, to carry weapons off-duty in public places, deploy drones, and expands surveillance through CCTV images and pedestrian cameras.

It includes an objectionable Article 24 that was rewritten to protect the identification of police officials, imposes a fine of 75,000 euros ($89,000) and one year in prison if images and videos are disseminated “with the obvious aim of affecting physical or mental integrity.”

Thousands of protestors, including human rights groups, have demonstrated against the bill since November when the National Assembly approved a draft legislation. It also garnered criticism internationally for limiting public freedom and violating privacy laws.

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