It is a snub for the Ministry of the Interior. In a decision made public on Thursday, June 10, the Council of State annulled four major provisions of the national law enforcement plan (SNMO), the “bible” of the security forces in the management of demonstrations. The reflection around this new doctrine, launched in June 2019 by Christophe Castaner, then Minister of the Interior, was completed fifteen months later – with a year behind schedule – on September 16, 2020, on the occasion the publication of a 29-page document.
The text, according to the associations, had been formalized “Without real consultation or transparency” with the aim of providing the police and gendarmerie with common rules of action after months of clashes with the “yellow vests”. As soon as it was published, it had been criticized, in particular because of the consecration of the use of non-specialized services – anti-crime brigades, research and intervention brigades or the repression of violent action – in operations to maintain law and order. order, or the confirmation of the use of de-encircling grenades and defense bullet launchers (LBD), which caused dozens of mutilations and serious injuries, mainly between 2018 and 2019.
Defense of the freedom to inform
The strongest denunciations, brought by some forty associations including the Human Rights League (LDH), the Magistracy Union (SM) or the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), also targeted practices considered to be seriously offending public freedoms, including that of the “trap”, consisting in surrounding protesters for an indefinite time, and the use of which had become almost systematic in the event of a large-scale demonstration. If the SNMO validated its appeal “Useful, on the time just necessary (…) for the purposes of monitoring, arresting or preventing further unrest ”, the Council of State purely and simply annulled this provision considering that it did not regulate in a sufficiently precise way the cases in which it was possible to implement this technique.
It is, however, in matters of defense of the freedom to inform that the supreme jurisdiction of the administrative order has shown itself to be the most incisive by recalling its essential character to democratic life. “In that it makes it possible to account for the ideas and opinions expressed and the character of this collective expression as well as, where applicable, the intervention of public authorities and law enforcement agencies”. And by canceling three emblematic measures relating to the work of journalists during demonstrations.
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