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Some 46,000 people gather in Paris to protest against security bill — TV

About 22,000 took to the streets for a similar event last week

PARIS, November 29. /TASS/. About 46,000 people gathered in the French capital of Paris on Saturday to protest against the adoption of the country’s new national security bill, the BFM TV channel reported citing the interior ministry’s data.

"According to the interior ministry’s information, the rally against the bill on global security gathered 46,000 participants," the channel reported.

About 22,000 people gathered for a similar event last Saturday.

According to the police department of Paris, a total of 46 people were detained as of 19:46 local time (21:45 Moscow time), mostly for violence against law enforcement officers.

Separate groups of aggressive protestors attempted to erect barricades, set cars and garbage tanks on fire and threw incendiary bottles at law enforcement officers. Fires that broke out as a result damaged a street cafe and a bank office.

At least 37 police officers were injured in the clashes, including 23 in Paris and 14 in other cities.

When the rally was scheduled to be over, its organizers called upon the participants to dissolve, but many people ignored the call. Police had to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Overall, 133,000 people took to the streets all across France, including about 7,500 people in Lyon, 6,000 - in Bordeaux, 1,500 - in Strasbourg, 1,400 - in Lille. Large-scale gatherings were also reported in Rouen, Marseille and Montpellier.

The controversial bill was widely criticized by journalists, politicians and citizens, mostly because of its Article 24. It envisages a punishment of up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euro (about $54,000 at the current exchange rate) for publishing "an image of the face or other element allowing identification" of a law enforcement officer "with the goal of damaging his physical or psychological integrity."

The lower chamber of the country’s parliament started considering the bill on November 18. First protests broke out in Paris immediately after the start of debates.

The legislation has already been passed by the parliament in the first reading. Shortly after, French Prime Minister Jean Castex tasked an independent commission with amending the text, triggering a harsh response from the French National Assembly (lower house of parliament) speaker Richard Ferrand. The speaker said the government must not infringe upon the lawmakers’ zone of responsibility, by replacing them with a government-appointed commission. In turn, the speaker of the parliament’s upper chamber, Gerard Larcher, recommended the ministers to ‘re-read the constitution.’.