Since 2018, millions of people have taken to the streets in France to demand social and economic justice. They have been opposing government’s policies by peacefully demonstrating against rising social and economic inequalities, government’s inaction on the climate crisis and the reform of the pension system. The response of the authorities has been to weaponize the law to crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Participating in protests in France today carries the risk of being seriously injured by rubber bullets and other dangerous weapons used by the police and exposed to tear gas. While many protesters committed acts of violence for which they were prosecuted, thousands of peaceful protesters have been fined, arrested and prosecuted under overly broad and vague laws. This is a violation of their rights, as they are being punished simply for expressing their dissent peacefully.
In today’s France, protesting for fundamental rights can bring fines, lead to spending a day or two in pre-charge detention; and be prosecuted with criminal charges without having committed any violence at all. During the last years, protests have been banned, and critics have been targeted. Now, many people fear that attending a protest in France means risking abuses by the police or facing serious legal consequences without ever committing something wrong.
Engaging in peaceful protests and taking collective action have been part of France’s political culture for centuries. In 2017, President Macron committed to protect the right to peaceful assembly. However, such right is being threatened as never before in France’s recent history.
It is a human right protected by all major human rights Conventions. Call on the French authorities to protect the right to come together and express dissent peacefully. Sign the petition now and demand President Emanuel Macron to:
- Stop the crackdown on people’s right to peacefully protest
- Repeal or substantially amend all vague and broad laws to ensure they are not used to hamper people’s right to protest peacefully.
- Ensure measures introduced to protect public health do not impose undue restrictions on people’s rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression.