Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced a series of measures against civil liberties, some more dangerous than others, that he wants quickly adopted into law.
It is the demonstrations of the Yellow Vests, the damages and clashes that “tarnish” the demonstrations, that are put forward to justify the challenge the right to protest. For the first time, people participating in an undeclared demonstration can be arrested and prosecuted in court. Prohibitions on demonstrations can be used against people under the pretext that there are “serious reasons to think” that their behavior constitutes a threat to public order, or because they could be linked to people likely to commit such acts. It is the purported intent or links that become grounds to prohibit a protest. Arrests on the spot will be made easier by making a fine (for wearing a face mask, for example) into an offense.
These are the same vague and elastic reasons subject to interpretation in all sorts of situations, such as those that have been used during the state of emergency and that inspired all the “anti-terrorist” laws.
Under the existing laws, 5,339 people have been placed in custody since November and 150 jail sentences were pronounced.
The bill that Edouard Philippe wants voted on is inspired by that of a right-wing deputy. It is right-wing discourse for restoring order at any cost.
Not a word about police violence, about arbitrary arrests.
Not a word about the causes of social protest, except to say that the government has already given a lot, that it will not go further and that it will be necessary to be content with the “national debate.”
We denounce this bill, which seeks to discourage, by repression and fear, the Yellow Vests from continuing their movement and threatens the right to demonstrate for all.
We demand the prohibition of offensive grenades, flash-balls and lethal weapons used by the police and the gendarmerie.
We give our support to all those who are fighting against social injustice and for social demands: in particular the increase of the minimum wage, salaries, pensions and social security, the restoration of the ISF [Solidarity Tax on Wealth], the defense of public services. They coincide with the demands of many of the yellow vests; they are those of the workers’ and popular movement and the class-struggle trade union movement.
Paris, January 10, 2019
Workers’ Communist Party of France (PCOF)