- Title: Amnesty says France using terrorism powers to curb peaceful protests
- Date: 31st May 2017
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (MAY 31, 2017) (AGENCY POOL) (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN, CHRISTOPHE CASTANER, SAYING: "I will wait until I have read the report but on the principle, I very much wish to tell you that obviously there is no question of manipulating what is a state of emergency to fight and prevent terrorism in any way whatsoever."
- Embargoed: 14th June 2017 16:11
- Keywords: Amnesty International France protests police government state of emergency security human rights
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,International/National Security
- Reuters ID: LVA0056J6681Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Rights group Amnesty International accused France on Wednesday (May 31) of using emergency powers to fight terrorism as a pretext for clamping down on peaceful protests, including over sensitive environmental and labour issues.
The report comes just days after President Emmanuel Macron said his government would ask parliament to extend by several months the emergency powers introduced in 2015 to counter the threat of militant attacks.
Emergency rules giving French police wider search and arrest powers were introduced after Islamist gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in and around Paris in November 2015.
Amnesty France's head of freedom programmes, Nicolas Krameyer, told Reuters TV on Wednesday that between November 2015 and 5 May 2017, authorities had used their powers to issue 155 decrees prohibiting public gatherings.
The report also said 639 measures preventing specific individuals participating in public assemblies had been imposed, including 574 that targeted labour law reforms protesters.
The new government has said that following last week's Manchester attacks claimed by Islamic State, the state of emergency should run beyond mid-July to November 1.
"Obviously there is no question of manipulating what is a state of emergency to fight and prevent terrorism in any way whatsoever," government spokesman Christophe Castaner said.
Amnesty said the current measures included powers to ban demonstrations on vague grounds and prevent individuals attending protests.
With Macron expected to push through new economic reforms in the coming months, there is potential for more widespread demonstrations across the country.
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