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Riots in Paris as furious masked mob set cars on fire and throw Molotov cocktails at police

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Riots in Paris as furious masked mob set cars on fire and throw Molotov cocktails at police as thousands march against law making it illegal to film police

  • Violent clashes broke out in Paris again today after weeks of unrest following a new ‘Global Security’ bill
  • Law would make it illegal to film the police, a policy President Macron’s administration has pledged to rewrite
  • Concerns from activists and journalists that new measure will harm press freedoms & enable police brutality
  • Fires were light in the street and cars were set alight as the roads of the French capital were filled with smoke
  • Demonstrators were seen battling with riot police, with reports of missiles being thrown at the officers 

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Cars were ignited by furious gangs of rioters in Paris today as thousands marched against a new law making it illegal to film the police.

Flames and thick black smoke filled major streets in the French capital on Saturday as youths wearing black masks and balaclavas threw missiles including Molotov Cocktails at the police.

By early evening there had been 22 arrests of ‘very violent suspects’ in the area around Avenue Gambetta, said a local police spokesman, who said highly organised rioters had put numerous shop windows in.

The new legislation would have created a new criminal offence for publishing images of police officers with intent to cause them harm but President Macron’s administration has since pledged to rewrite following riots across the country. 

Despite the rewrite concession, opponents have pledged to continue to protest until it is removed completely.  

In a day of dramatic protests, cars were set alight in the street, filling the roads of Paris with plumes of thick black smoke. Pictured: A ‘yellow vest’ anti-government protestor kneels raising his fist holding a sign which reads: ‘Living, Yes! Surviving, No!’

Protesters were blocked by riot police officers during the demonstration this afternoon as yellow flares were set off

Protesters were blocked by riot police officers during the demonstration this afternoon as yellow flares were set off 

Demonstrators attempted get past the wall of riot police who blocked the street in Paris which saw fires and clashes break out in the capital

Demonstrators attempted get past the wall of riot police who blocked the street in Paris which saw fires and clashes break out in the capital

Reports suggest some members of the protest were throwing missiles at the riot police, including Molotov Cocktails

Reports suggest some members of the protest were throwing missiles at the riot police, including Molotov Cocktails

During the struggle between officers and demonstrators, the police were pelted with pink paint as well as claims of other missiles being launched at them

During the struggle between officers and demonstrators, the police were pelted with pink paint as well as claims of other missiles being launched at them

Protestors took the streets again today, after weeks of demonstrations, to campaign against the French government's proposed 'General Security' bill,  forcing the police to intervene

Protestors took the streets again today, after weeks of demonstrations, to campaign against the French government’s proposed ‘General Security’ bill,  forcing the police to intervene

‘They were part of a march heading towards Place de la Republique,’ said the source.

‘Vehicles and property are being set alight and officers are coming under attack. The situation is very tense.

‘There are hundreds of Black Bloc anarchists in the crowd and they are starting the fires, and smashing windows.’

As the violence intensified, officers responded with tear gas and baton charges, and water canons were also deployed.

Across the city fires broke out, including this car which has been set alight as part of the growing tensions between protestors and police

Across the city fires broke out, including this car which has been set alight as part of the growing tensions between protestors and police

Local police confirmed that by early evening there had been 22 arrests of ‘very violent suspects’ in the area around Avenue Gambetta. Pictured: A demonstrator holds an umbrella and a sign reading 'For your safety you will have no more freedoms' during the protests

Local police confirmed that by early evening there had been 22 arrests of ‘very violent suspects’ in the area around Avenue Gambetta. Pictured: A demonstrator holds an umbrella and a sign reading ‘For your safety you will have no more freedoms’ during the protests

A spokesperson for the local police said highly organised rioters had put numerous shop windows in

A spokesperson for the local police said highly organised rioters had put numerous shop windows in 

One source described the situation as 'very tense' as police attempted to block off protestors in the French capital

One source described the situation as ‘very tense’ as police attempted to block off protestors in the French capital

Large groups of demonstrators, who were piled in together on the streets and unable to social distance, were blocked off during the demonstration

Large groups of demonstrators, who were piled in together on the streets and unable to social distance, were blocked off during the demonstration

There were similar scenes a week ago in Paris when police came under continual attack around Place de Bastille.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration has pledged to rewrite a new Global Security bill which will make it illegal to publish any images of the police that might harm officers ‘physically or psychologically’.

Tensions are running particularly high because four officers are currently facing criminal charges after beating up Michel Zecler, a black music producer, two weeks ago.

Demonstrators have pointed to the fact that all the evidence against the police comes from CCTV footage, and film shot by passers-by outside Mr Zecler’s Black Gold studio in Paris.

As the violence intensified, officers responded with tear gas and baton charges, and water canons were also deployed

As the violence intensified, officers responded with tear gas and baton charges, and water canons were also deployed

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he would press for the dismissal of all the officers involved, saying they had ‘soiled the uniform of the republic’.

Today, there were also demonstrations against the new law in some 89 other cities and towns beyond Paris.

Most of France remains under coronavirus lockdown, but the forces of law and order today appeared relaxed about the large numbers turning up to demonstrate.

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