France Plans to Crack Down on Anti-government Protesters
08 January 2019, 02:34
France plans to crack down heavily on unauthorized protesters, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced Monday, after an anti-government march over the weekend turned violent, VOA news reports.
“We need to preserve the right to demonstrate in France, and we must sanction those who break the law,” Philippe told French television, saying they include “those who take part in undeclared protests, those who arrive at protests with balaclavas (face masks).”
Philippe said proposed laws would ban troublemakers from marches the same way hooligans and thugs are stopped from entering football stadiums.
He also said marchers would be forced to pay for damages to vandalized buildings and wrecked property.
An anti-government protest Saturday began peacefully but soon turned violent when some marchers set motorcycles and a restaurant on fire and threw debris at police.
One officer was hurt when a protester dropped a bicycle on him from a bridge.
The so-called yellow vest marches erupted across France in November to protest a new gasoline tax, but soon turned into a general anti-government protest.