French MPs approve anti-riot bill amid Yellow Vest protests, rights watchdog sounds alarm


13-03-19 12:59:00,

The upper house of the French parliament has greenlighted a bill giving police broad powers to quell unrest. It comes as a rights watchdog warned of civil liberties being undermined in France due to crackdowns on protest.

Following hours of tense debate on Tuesday, the French Senate approved an anti-hooligan (‘anti-casseurs’) bill by a margin of 210 votes to 115.

The bill has courted widespread controversy, having been denounced as “liberticide” by the left, and hailed as a “the law of protections” by the French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

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French MPs back ‘anti-riot’ law, forbidding protesters from hiding faces & barring troublemakers

The government insists that the legislation will allow to distinguish between law-abiding protesters and violent rioters, while providing protection for both law enforcement and Yellow Vest demonstrators. Speaking ahead of the vote on Tuesday, Castaner defended the bill, saying that it “safeguards the right to demonstrate,” while brushing off concerns that it encroaches on civil freedoms.

“This text does not include an ounce of arbitrariness,” he said.

His view has not been shared by many among the opposition.

Senator Jerome Durain of the center-left Socialist Party (PS) slammed the draft as “useless, imprecise and dangerous,” arguing that it will only foment the unrest.

“The dramatization of the situation does not serve anyone,” Durain said.

The bill, which was first introduced in parliament last year, has already received backing from the National Assembly, France’s lower house. While the National Assembly overwhelmingly supported the bill in February, the vote saw an unprecedented number of abstentions within French President Emmanuel Macron’s own La Republique En Marche (LREM) party. Some 50 LREM lawmakers chose not to approve the bill and one MP, Matthieu Orphelin, went as far as to desert the party ranks altogether in the wake of the vote.

Many took issue with the provisions of the bill that prohibit protesters from wearing masks at rallies and allow police to single out and ban certain “troublemakers” from attending the ‘acts.’

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Yellow Vest protester tipped out of wheelchair onto ground by police (VIDEO)

The Yellow Vest protests have been marred by violence from both sides.

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8% of Germans would approve dictatorship, while even more welcome ‘strong-arm’ leader – study


09-11-18 12:51:00,

Under certain “circumstances,” some 8 percent of Germans are OK with a dictatorship as a form of government, while even more would welcome a leader ruling Germany with “a strong hand,” research has found.

While the majority of the country surely bears no nostalgic feelings about such forms of governance, a new study suggests some are not against the idea. A report compiled in cooperation with two major think tanks found that as many as 7.9 percent of Germans believe that dictatorship would serve national interests better than anything else “under certain circumstances.” Some 18.6 percent were described as latent supporters of the idea. 

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© Marko Djurica

Dictatorship basically comes with a cult of personality, and this is where eleven percent of respondents said there should be a leader “who rules Germany with a strong hand for the good of all.”

The survey shows slightly a similar ratio in questions targeting other sensitivities of the country’s past. Some eight percent said “Nazism had its own positive sides” while slightly more agreed that Hitler could have become “a great statesman” if he did not unleash the Holocaust.

Antisemitism, a centerpiece of Nazi racial policy, still exists in Germany with one in 10 people saying they felt Jews still have “too much of an influence even today.”

“Our current survey shows quite clearly that xenophobia is becoming increasingly widespread throughout the country,” says study director Oliver Decker. Moreover, there is an increasing number of people willing to crack down on political opponents, the scholar warned.

Still, a sizeable part of German population reject authoritarianism and stand for democracy, Decker noted: “We can say that 30 percent of the population has a decidedly democratic attitude.”

RT’s Peter Oliver also tried to gain insight into German hearts and minds by asking people in Berlin to provide their take. “This is our past, it cannot be allowed to become our future,” said one lady.

However, “it doesn’t surprise me because I see the people [supporting those views],” another man told RT. The reasons for that could be hidden in the 2015 refugee crisis,

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