France
COP 21 climate summit, protest and a state of emergency


This page will be updated as the COP21 summit and state of emergency continue.

6.12.15

France considers restrictions on Tor and public Wi-Fi (The Daily Dot, link): "In the wake of the deadly Paris attacks, the French government is considering new legislation that would restrict access to the anonymizing network Tor and free Wi-Fi networks, according to a report in French newspaper Le Monde. "

 

5.12.15

Undercover police crack down on freedom of speech in Paris (New International Facebook page, link): "Yesterday undercover police cracked down on anyone questioning the sponsors of a corporate “Solutions 21” event in Paris."

 

4.12.15

FRANCE: Don’t Shackle Freedoms on the Count of Terrorism! (Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, link): "4/12/15 – EuroMed Rights expresses serious concerns about ongoing and future restrictions of public freedoms in France, following the terror attacks that shook the French capital on November 13th. Our organisation calls on the French government to strictly respect the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality, and to abide by its international human rights commitments, at all time."

Also available: French, Arabic

 

3.12.15

Anonymous Leaks Paris Climate Summit Officials’ Private Data (Wired, link): "Hackers have leaked the private login details of nearly 1,415 officials at the UN climate talks in Paris in an apparent act of protest against arrests of activists in the city.

Anonymous, the hacktivist movement, hacked the website of the summit organisers, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and posted names, phone numbers, usernames, email addresses, and secret questions and answers onto an anonymous publishing site."

France plans to change constitution to extend state of emergency: govt sources (AFP, link): "France plans to change the constitution to allow it to extend a state of emergency "to a maximum of six months", government sources said Thursday."

France wants Facebook and Twitter to launch an 'offensive' against ISIS propaganda (The Verge, link): "The French government is once again calling on major web companies to help combat jihadist propaganda online, following a string of deadly attacks last month that left 129 dead and more than 300 injured. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Axelle Lemaire, deputy minister for digital affairs, met with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google, and Microsoft today to discuss plans to counter extremist propaganda and expand safety tools in the event of a future attack. A follow-up meeting will be held at the end of January."

French police don't hesitate to use broad new emergency powers (Los Angeles Times, link): "It was a typical Saturday night at the Pepper Grill, a halal burger and Tex-Mex restaurant in the Parisian suburb of St.-Ouen-l'Aumone. Staff were busy serving customers when police in full body armor, carrying rifles and riot shields, poured into the sleek red dining room.

Video from the restaurant’s surveillance cameras shows startled diners spinning around in their chairs. Police instructed them to remain seated and place their hands on the tables while they forced open doors with battering rams.

“I offered them the keys,” said the restaurant’s indignant owner, Ivan Agac. “They didn’t even answer me.”"

States of emergency may have no time limits (The Local, link): "As concerns grow about France's state of emergency, new reports say the French government wants to change the constitution to be able to extend the emergency measures for up to six months.

A proposed change to France's constitution would not place a time limit on states of emergency of the kind introduced after the Paris attacks, according to a draft text seen by AFP on Thursday.

However, the draft change to the constitution says exceptional measures taken during a state of emergency -- such as powers of house arrest -- could be prolonged "for a maximum period of six months" after the original state of emergency was declared."

The other side of Paris: Islamist attacks fuelling tensions in outer suburbs known for drugs, crime (ABC, link): "But at ground level in the suburb —or 'banlieue' — of Saint-Denis, some locals are confronting a different reality, one where France's new and extraordinary state of emergency laws, enacted after last month's Islamist carnage, may be regularly deployed.

French prime minister Manuel Valls has warned police now have the power to place individuals identified for "their behaviours or their acquaintances, their comments or projects" under house arrest.

Saint-Denis received international attention days after the Paris attacks when accused mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud and two accomplices died in a bloody shootout with police at an apartment in the suburb."

 

2.12.15

France shuts mosque, arrests man in crackdown after attacks (Reuters, link): " Police shut a mosque east of Paris and arrested the owner of a revolver found in related raids on Wednesday as part of a crackdown called after the Nov. 13 attacks on the capital, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

He told journalists authorities had closed another two mosques last week - the first time France has taken such action against places of worship suspected of nurturing what he called "Islamist radicalization"."

France shuts down three 'radical' mosques in wake of Paris attacks (France 24, link): "France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Wednesday that police had arrested 232 people and shut down three mosques under emergency laws passed in the wake of last month's Paris terrorist attacks."

 

1.12.15

2,000 Police Raids During State of Emergency - French PM (TeleSur, link): "French Prime Minister Manuel Valls confirmed that close to 2,000 police raids have been carried out during the nation’s state-of-emergency, resulting in 210 people being taken into custody and 276 others being placed under house arrest. A further 1,000 people have been prohibited from entering French territory, Valls told lawmakers.

France’s state-of-emergency includes the possibility of 24-hour police raids conducted without a warrant or any other kind of judicial control. Police have also been granted the ability to seize all information found on computers, as well as other technological devices and equipment.

“For the intelligence services, it's an open bar,” Adrienne Charmet of the online rights group Quadrature du Net told Terra eco."

France continues "Emergency Law" crackdown on radical, terrorist circles (Kuwait News Agency, link): "France is continuing its security crackdown in the wake of the November 13 terrorist attacks here and the "State of Emergency" currently in place could be extended for a second time, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Tuesday.

Speaking on "Europe 1 radio", Valls said that the special police powers approved by parliament here and which run until February were designed to protect the population and not repress freedoms and he would not exclude an extension of these powers.

'The State of Emergency is there precisely to protect our freedoms,' he said in the interview."

Manuel Valls n’écarte pas une nouvelle prorogation de l’état d’urgence (Le Monde, link): "Sur Europe 1, mardi 1er décembre, le premier ministre Manuel Valls a laissé entendre que la prorogation de l’état d’urgence au-delà du 26 février, terme fixé par la loi adoptée dans la foulée des attentats du 13 novembre, était une possibilité envisageable."

France Performs Over 2,000 Searches During State of Emergency (Sputnik, link): "Over 2,000 searches have been carried out in France since the introduction of a state of emergency following the Paris attacks earlier in November, the French prime minister said Tuesday.

'Over 2,000 searches have been carried out in France since the introduction of the state of emergency… It allowed us to seize 320 weapons. Judicial proceedings on 250 cases have been opened, 210 people have been detained,' Manuel Valls said on Europe 1 radio station."

 

30.11.15

Paris Is a Snapshot of Our Hot, Violent, Militarized Future (Motherboard, link): "Regardless of what the summit actually produces in terms of commitments to reducing carbon pollution, it has already produced a microcosmic snapshot of our fast-approaching future under climate change: governments struggling to contain a spreading ecological threat, temperatures rapidly rising, and social turmoil threatening to spill over into violence."

The Latest: 317 detained after banned Paris climate protest (AP, 30.11.15, link, title later changed to 'US House leader won't pay for climate deal'): "9:20 a.m. Paris police say 317 people were detained after an unauthorized protest seeking to call attention to climate change, which ended with police firing tear gas at protesters throwing bottles and candles.

The Paris police department had said Sunday night that 174 were detained in the protest, then said Monday morning that the figure had grown to 317. It did not give a reason for the growing number."

An earlier report from AP: Worldwide climate rallies draw hundreds of thousands (29.11.15): "Paris police chief Michel Cadot said that a group of 200 or 300 people violated a ban on protests under the country's state of emergency. Cadot said that the group lobbed glass bottles and other projectiles, including candles set out in homage to the victims of the extremist attacks. Shoes laid out at the earlier ceremony also were tossed about. Police fired numerous rounds of tear gas to disperse the group.

"President Francois Hollande denounced the violence by a minority as "scandalous," both because the clashes were caused by "disruptive elements" that have nothing to do with environmental activists and because they occurred at Place de la Republique, which has been a memorial square for the victims Paris attacks. He said "everything will be done" to ensure they are not present during the conference.

"Prime Minister Manuel Valls also denounced the violence in a tweet, saying that respecting the square, used to pay homage to attack victims, "is to respect the memory of victims."

COP21 climate summit opens in Paris amid high security (France 24, 30.11.15, link): "Highways usually packed with commuters were cordoned off... Riot police vans and plainclothes officers are stationed around the capital and the northern suburb of Le Bourget, where the UN-led climate conference is being held Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

"French authorities had banned protests in Paris, but in a show of defiance against the militants and determination to have their voices heard on climate change, thousands of people in Paris gathered to create a two-kilometre (1.2-mile) human chain on Sunday.

"Their stand was disrupted, however, when a band of anti-capitalist agitators infiltrated the protests, leading to clashes with riot police which saw close to 300 people arrested."

 

29.11.15

French interior minister warns police against state of emergency abuses (RFI, 29.11.15, link): "'As a first choice and insofar as is possible, voluntary opening of doors should be sought,' writes [French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazaneuve], adding that searches must be "necessary and justified".

"Objective elements" must show that there are "serious reasons to believe that the place is frequented by a person whose behaviour threatens public order or security", the circular says, and "the name of the person and evidence linking him to the place" should be available.

And: "If no crime is known to have taken place, police "have no powers of restraint", the circular reminds them, following reports that ecologist and libertarian activists have been handcuffed in controversial raids on people suspected of wanting to breach the ban on demonstrations introduced after the Paris attacks.

Several cases of police breaking down doors without seeking permission to enter have been reported..."

Some numbers: "By Friday 1,836 premises had been searched, 305 people had been placed under house arrest, over 200 people had been detained after raids and 293 weapons had been seized since the declaration of the state of emergency, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said during a visit to a town in the Paris region."

France Uses Sweeping Powers to Curb Climate Protests, but Clashes Erupt (New York Times, 29.11.15, link): "Juliette Rousseau, the head of Coalition Climat 21, an umbrella group for environmental activists, said the authorities had searched homes and seized computers and other equipment belonging to activists who have no connection to terrorism.

'There’s clearly an environment to keep activists out,' she said. 'The state of emergency is clearly targeting activist movements. This is not justified. These people under house arrest, they don’t have any kind of criminal record.'

She added: 'The impression we have is that there is this conference taking place in a sealed-up space, and meanwhile people in civil society are being asphyxiated.'"

More than 200 protesters arrested in Paris clash before climate talks (Los Angeles Times, 29.11.15, link): "Brendan Cummings, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity and a resident of Joshua Tree, Calif., was in Paris and said he witnessed the clash.

“The overwhelming majority of those assembled were nonviolent and peaceful," he said in a telephone interview. 'But many wanted to march rather than stand still. For them, climate change is the most urgent crisis facing the world, and for the government to ban all protests was highly problematic.'

"Cummings said police appeared to be using nonlethal, so-called flash-bang grenades, which could have rattled Parisians in nearby neighborhoods who are on edge after the terrorist attacks."

Protest ban? What protest ban? (New Internationalist, 29.11.15, link): "Of course, another possibility is that the French protest ban is simply unenforceable in the face of a large enough group of determined and passionate people with sufficient public sympathy on their side. Climate change is now so serious – and so urgent – that thousands were willing to risk arrest in Paris today to stand up for that cause, with the support of millions of observers around the world. In the event, there was little that the French state could do to prevent this – at least for the five hours that I was out on the streets observing the protests unfold."

And: "But rather than pick a fight, the crowd simply filled the road, leaving a clear space between themselves and the police, and chanted in defiance. Some gas grenades from the police – and one small charge – failed to deter the crowd, who remained there chanting ‘liberté’ and ‘police state’ for a good 15 minutes. Then, having seemingly decided they’d made their point, they turned and marched back to the square, to rejoin the occupation there. As I left Place de la République at 2.30pm, the crowds still filled the square."

Peaceful Paris climate gathering descends into clashes with police (The Guardian, link). Which notes that: "The situation deteriorated quickly as police restricted access to the square and launched dozens of teargas missiles into the crowd."

Worldwide climate rallies draw hundreds of thousands (AP, 29.11.15, link): "Paris police chief Michel Cadot said that a group of 200 or 300 people violated a ban on protests under the country's state of emergency."

Letter from Paris: which side will prevail? (OpenDemocracy, 29.11.15, link): "As Le Monde observed and as the Human Right League denounced, the state of emergency is being used to harass ecological activists and to block demonstrations denouncing the irresponsibility of governments facing climate change and expressing the demands of civil societies during the COP21 meeting. Even an organic farm was raided by the gendarmes, perhaps looking for bombs in the cabbages, and placards denouncing environment policies were seized as “terrorist” materials."

 

25.11.15

France to deploy 8,000 police along borders (The Local, link): " Thousands of police on the borders and no cars in Paris - these were the main initiatives announced by France to ensure security at the COP 21 climate summit next week."

 

19.11.15

As France Moves To Extend State Of Emergency, Critics Raise Concerns (NPR, link). From a transcript:

"In the political integration, you find terrorism. But when you come to the articles of the bill, it's not at all terrorism. It's everything about security and public order. That means the exceptional extension of the police powers and the exceptional restraints of civil liberties is not at all only for the purposes of fighting terrorism but for anything during three months. And we don't understand that because it's not really very fair to tell people it's about terrorism and to extend so much the exceptional law field in a way."

The transcript reads as follows:

SIEGEL: And the court would define whether that was a legitimate...

DUBOIS: Exactly.

SIEGEL: ...Terrorism...

DUBOIS: Exactly.

SIEGEL: ...Investigation.

DUBOIS: We really need the judicial guarantee of law."

Support our work by making a one-off or regular donation to help us continue to monitor the state and civil liberties in Europe.
Search our database for more articles and information or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates from Statewatch News Online.

We welcome contributions to News Online and comments on this website. E-mail us, call +44 (0) 207 697 4266, or send post to PO Box 1516, London, N16 0EW.

Home | News Online | Journal | Observatories | Analyses | Database | SEMDOC | About Statewatch

© Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.