Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence

PARIS (Reuters) – Police fired tear gas and stun grenades during a protest march against police violence in Paris on Saturday after masked protesters launched fireworks at their lines, put up barricades and threw stones.

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The majority of the thousands of protesters marched peacefully, but several small groups clashed with police. Two cars, a motorcycle and building materials were set on fire, which generated clouds of black smoke visible from miles away.

Thousands of people also marched in Lille, Rennes, Strasbourg and other cities.

The protests follow the publication this week of CCTV footage of the minutes-long beating of Black music producer Michel Zecler by three police officers in Paris on Nov. 21.

The incident has also fanned anger about a draft law that is seen as curbing the right of journalists to report on police brutality.

The bill would make it a crime to circulate images of police officers in certain circumstances, which opponents say would limit press freedom.

Many protesters carried placards with slogans like “Who will protect us from the police”, “Stop police violence” and “Democracy bludgeoned”.

The images of Zecler being beaten have circulated widely on social media and in the French and foreign press. President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday the images were shameful for France.

Four police officers are being held for questioning as part of an investigation into the beating.

“What is happening in Paris is extremely worrying and we cannot let this pass. I have spent two years with the yellow vests and I have seen all the violence,” demonstrator Caroline Schatz told Reuters at the Paris march.

The journalists’ organisations and civil liberty groups who organised the marches were joined by far-left militants, environmental activists and yellow vest protesters. The yellow vests have been protesting against government policies for two years.

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