Amnesty denounces 'ongoing erosion' of human rights in France

French authorities in 2023 imposed excessive and illegitimate restrictions on people’s right to demonstrate, the rights group Amnesty International said in a report published Wednesday.

It pointed in particular to clampdowns on protests that saw arrests and the use of force during rallies against issues such as the government’s unpopular pensions reform, plans to build “mega-basin” water reservoirs in rural France, and the war in Gaza.

Amnesty's 2023 annual report accuses the government of systemic racism and discrimination, as well as stifling civil liberties.

"French authorities repeatedly imposed excessive, disproportionate, and illegitimate restrictions on the right to demonstrate," the report said.

“In October, the Minister of the Interior sent a message to police prefects asking them to ban any demonstration organised in solidarity with Palestine, which constituted a disproportionate and discriminatory attack on the right to peaceful assembly,” the report said.

'Racial profiling'

Restrictions on protests, it added, were taking place alongside persistent racial profiling and discrimination against religious minorities.

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