Police detain 81 people in France following security law protests

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Police in France detained 81 people across the country after protests were held in several cities against police brutality and a controversial new security law.

According to French news agency AFP, which cited the Interior Ministry, the arrests were made after around 133,000 people demonstrated in several cities, with 46,000 in Paris alone.

AFP reported that organisers said that as many as 500,000 people nationwide had joined the marches, with as many as 200,000 in Paris.

According to AFP  and City’s police force, in Paris, where isolated riots broke out, protesters erected barricades and threw objects at the police, and 23 officers were injured. Countrywide, 76 were injured.

In the Breton city of Rennes, officers used tear gas against the protesters.

Further protests took place in Strasbourg, Marseille and Lyon.

The protests are coming as France reels from two high-profile incidents of police brutality.

On Nov. 23, police officers used force to evacuate a migrant camp, and on Thursday a video emerged that appeared to show officers beating a black music producer.

Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz told journalists on Sunday that his office had initiated investigations against four police officers.

However, probes began against three officers for allegations of racially motivated violence, trespassing and forging documents, French news agency AFP reported citing a judicial source.

An officer suspected of throwing a tear gas canister in the music studio where the attack occurred will be probed on allegations of employing “wilful violence,” AFP reported.

The agency said two officers were detained, while the other two were placed under judicial supervision.

The video appeared against the backdrop of proposed legislation that would limit people’s right to take video recordings of police.

The government says a new security law would better protect the police and restrict video recordings that could hamper police operations.

Many also see the freedom of the press at risk because of the planned law.

The measure has been reviewed in the lower house and is before the Senate. 

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