RIOTS have flared in Paris as a masked mob lobbed Molotov cocktails and torched cars over a contentious law banning the filming of cops.
Scores of hooded anarchists launched projectiles at riot cops, smashed up shop windows, and burned barricades during today's demo against police violence.Vehicles were torched during the mayhemCredit: Reuters Police used riot shields and batons to protect themselvesCredit: Reuters France was accused of curbing freedomsCredit: AFP Projectiles were hurled at police, including paint, earlier todayCredit: AP:Associated Press Protesters were blocked during today's protest in ParisCredit: AP:Associated Press One group of anarchists ransacked a bank, tossing piles of paperwork onto a fireCredit: AP:Associated Press Violence erupted during the Paris protest on December 5Credit: AP:Associated Press A firefighter walks past a burning car during the protest Credit: Reuters Politicians have said they will look at the contentious legislationCredit: Rex Features Riot police have been out in force today to calm down the protestersCredit: Reuters Firefighters were kept busy extinguishing flames from lit debris and torched vehiclesCredit: Rex Features
Thousands of people had begun marching peacefully in the French capital when the clashes suddenly erupted.
There were face-offs between cops and pockets of protesters, most of whom were dressed in black and had their faces covered, reports Reuters.
Some used hammers to break up paving stones.
Cops fired back volleys of tear gas as angry protesters were denouncing police brutality.
They were also railing against President Emmanuel Macron’s hated security policy plans which demonstrators slammed for restricting civil liberties.
France has been hit by a wave of street protests after the government introduced a security bill in parliament.
The draft law increases its surveillance tools and restricts people's rights to circulate images of police officers in the media and online.Meanwhile in Lyon, protesters walk through tear gas Credit: AP:Associated Press Fires were lit in the capital as riot cops intervenedCredit: Reuters The protest flared over a contentious bill cracking down on people's rightsCredit: AP:Associated Press Vehicles were torched during the mayhemCredit: AP:Associated Press Cops confronted the demonstrators in ParisCredit: Rex Features
“We’re heading towards an increasingly significant limitation of freedoms. There is no justification,” said Paris resident Karine Shebabo.
Another protester, Xavier Molenat, added: “France has this habit of curbing freedoms while preaching their importance to others.”
As darkness fell, live TV images showed one group of anarchists ransacking the branch office of a bank.
They could be seen tossing piles of paperwork onto a fire burning on the pavement outside.
Angry protesters waved banners that read “France, land of police rights” and “Withdrawal of the security law”.The draft legislation provoked a fierce public backlashCredit: Getty Images - Getty Flares were also set off during the dramatic dayCredit: Rex Features Masked protesters could be seen at the demoCredit: Rex Features The streets of Paris were full of riot police and chanting protestersCredit: Rex Features Windows were smashed by some in the volatile mobCredit: Rex Features Smoke and flames could be seen rising from the streetsCredit: Reuters
Paris police said that some 500 “casseurs” - which translates as hoodlums or rioters - had infiltrated the protest, according to BFM TV.
Twenty-two arrests had been made, the force added.
The new bill was part of the president’s drive to get tougher on law and order ahead of elections in 2022.
His government also claimed that cops needed to be better protected from online hate.
But the draft legislation provoked a public backlash.
It comes after the publicised, brutal beating of a black man, music producer Michel Zecler, by several police officers in late November.
The attack has intensified anger against cops.
Because of the furore, Macron’s ruling party did a U-turn and said it would rewrite the draft bill curtailing people's rights.
There were peaceful protests in Marseille, Lyon, Rennes and other big cities.Police were surrounded by a fire during a demonstration for 'social rights'Credit: AFP Firefighters make their way through barricades during the demonstrationCredit: AP:Associated Press This shop's window was destroyed when the protest turned uglyCredit: Rex Features They were protesting against police brutalityCredit: AFP President Emmanuel Macron’s security policy plans are unpopularCredit: AFP - Getty