Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

France Intends to Ban Unauthorized Protests, Face Masks

France Intends to Ban Unauthorized Protests, Face Masks

High cash donations and wide support in social media to Christophe Dettinger, a former French boxing champion filmed hitting anti-riot police officer during a "yellow vest" protest in Paris last weekend, triggered anger of government officials who denounced public support for violence.

The former boxer, who won 18 of his 22 professional bouts and became French cruiserweight champion in 2007, attempted to justify his actions in a video circulated by relatives and since viewed by millions. Macron made multiple concessions that failed to extinguish the anger of the yellow vest movement, which is named after the fluorescent protective garments the protesters wear.

Assaulting a police officer can lead to up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (51,000 dollars), though sentences can be increased in certain circumstances.

Officials were outraged the page had been set up, saying it was tantamount to legitimising anti-police violence.

The SCSI-CFDT police union said the funds should be seized to compensate the two officers injured in Saturday's attack.

Seven weeks into a rebellion marked by weekly clashes in Paris and other French cities, Mr Philippe on Monday said the government would introduce a "new law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare (protests), those who take part in unauthorised demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks".

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People surveyed by Ifop gave Macron the most credit for defending France's interest overseas, but only 19 percent said they believed he understood voters' concerns. Ten people have died in incidents at or near roadblocks set up by protesters. Other measures would allow job cuts among civil servants.

There was a recent statement by two ministers from the Italian government who do not hide their support [for the yellow vest movement]... Di Maio said Monday that his 5-Star Movement (M5S) was ready to provide support to the Yellow Vests while fellow Deputy Premier, Interior Minister and League party leader Matteo Salvini, also voiced his backing for the protests.

With European elections looming in May - another big test for Macron - France's far right "National Rally" party, formerly known as the National Front and headed up by Marine Le Pen, is consolidating its position, the Ifop poll also showed.

The "yellow vest" demonstrations have been frequently violent since they began in late November, particularly on December 1 when crowds ransacked a museum in the Arc de Triomphe and daubed graffiti on the famed monument.

Philippe said 80,000 members of the security forces would be deployed for the next expected wave of protests, adding that "those who question our institutions will not have the last word".

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