After the attacks against Charlie Hebdo, and the Hyper Cacher in Vincennes in January 2015, people felt the need to come together and demonstrate. This feeling is still very much alive. Yet, since 13 November 2015, public demonstrations have been increasingly banned. Demonstrations are no longer seen as a right. Prefectures now seldom give their authorisation for people to exercise this right and when they do, it is often at the very last minute.
The Ministry of the Interior justifies these restrictions by saying that it would not be able to guarantee the safety of these places, yet, it has authorised sports and other events such as the Christmas markets which were held in public places. The ban on assemblies and demonstrations often leads to arrests, provisional detentions, house arrests, giving activists police records and, in some cases, condemnations. How can one believe that this provides the authorities with some relief?
Censorship, here, has proven to be doubly counterproductive......
The state of emergency empowers the prefect’s office to order searches, both day and night, without any legal basis, using records that may be wrong, denunciations, and unconfirmed information and suspicions. More than 2,600 discretionary intrusions were carried out in people’s homes, mosques, and businesses. Many of them have been violent and no one has been charged with terrorism. We know that anyone can be a victim and that there is no reason to believe that this frenzy will stop.
House arrests are becoming more and more frequent on grounds that are very vague, for instance, for demonstrations or simply for being acquainted with a certain person. These serious restrictions are applied indiscriminately and on a large scale, especially since the administrative courts turn a blind eye, in spite of the damage inflicted to freedoms. They agree with all the allegations made by the Ministry of the Interior and, to top it all, often feel that it is not urgent to take a decision on emergency rule.
The state of emergency and the civil war fueled by the government are contributing to these indiscriminate and discriminatory practices, particularly by the police. It is not "the terrorists who are being terrorised". Rather, it is the youth and population groups who, because of their background and/or religion, are being subjected to arbitrary decisions, and who see their situation becoming increasingly precarious.
Espousing the demands of the extreme right, with FN in the lead, the government is shamefully trying to amend the Constitution to extend the conditions of loss of nationality to cover dual nationals born in France.
Attempting to change the democratic contract is not the way to respond to acts of terrorism, Our country has been wounded, and rather than healing the wounds, the state of emergency is making them worse by undermining our democracy and invalidating our liberties.
Because of these circumstances, we call on the authorities to:
discharge their role as guarantors of the defense of public rights and liberties,
re-establish immediately, the full right to demonstrate;
cease unwarranted searches and arbitrary house arrests and only carry out actions that are legal;
establish effective guaranties of control;
lift the state of emergency;
give up on the reform to the Constitution that was prepared in haste and which contains unacceptable provisions