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Amnesty International: French state of emergency aimed at stopping peaceful protests

A police officer raises his baton as he attempts to disperse protesters during a demonstration against the results of the first round of the French presidential election in Bordeaux on April 27, 2017. (Photos by AFP)

Amnesty International says France has been using an extended state of emergency in Paris to block peaceful protests.
France imposed the state of emergency following the November 2015 Daesh attack in Paris which claimed the lives of at least 130 people. In accordance to the emergency measures, a multitude of public assemblies and protests have been banned. It also permits police to search citizens without warrants.     
According to a report released by the rights group on Wednesday, some 155 decrees have been issued banning public assemblies since the state of emergency was imposed.
Some 639 measures aimed at stopping people from participating in public assemblies, mostly against labor law reforms, have also been issued.
"Emergency laws intended to protect the French people from the threat of terrorism are instead being used to restrict their rights to protest peacefully," said Marco Perolini, an Amnesty researcher.
"Under the cover of the state of emergency, rights to protest have been stripped away with hundreds of activists, environmentalists, and labor rights campaigners unjustifiably banned from participating in protests," he added.

Youths use candles to write the word "Violence" in the road in front of a line of riot police outside the commissariat of the 19th Arrondissement (District) of Paris late on March 27, 2017.
The group also said that police used "unnecessary or excessive force" against peaceful protesters "who did not appear to threaten public order."
The state of emergency is scheduled to be revoked on July 15, but newly elected President Emmanuel Macron has said he will call on parliament to extend it until November.

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