Protests in France hit racist cop attack, repressive law

By Nat London
December 14, 2020
PAP/EPA/Christophe Petit Tesson

ALES, France — Over 130,000 people took to the streets of Paris and cities across the country Nov. 28, protesting the cop beating of Michel Zecler, a music producer who is black, and a draft “security” law. The law would outlaw recording and distributing videos of the police if authorities deem the films could be used to “harm” the cops.

Days earlier a video was posted showing cops relentlessly beating Zecler. His “crime” — arriving at his music studio without wearing a face mask. As they beat him, cops shouted racist slurs. Zecler was arrested and accused of attacking the cops. Within hours, 11 million people had viewed the security camera video, later shown on national TV news. Charges against Zecler were dropped and the four cops have been charged, three with “racist violence.” Two of them were held behind bars over making false statements.

“We cannot let this pass,” protester Caroline Schatz told Reuters at the Paris march. “I have spent two years with the yellow vests and I have seen all the violence.” “Yellow vest” protests, initiated in small towns and rural areas in 2018, targeted the crushing effects of the capitalist economic crisis on working people and the disdain of President Emmanuel Macron. His government backed cop assaults on their actions.

Five days prior to the Nov. 28 protests, cops attacked a tent city of 450 immigrants from Afghanistan, set up in the Place de la Republique in Paris, confiscating their shelters.

On Nov. 30 Macron announced the withdrawal of the security law, stating he would submit a new version later.