Thousands of protesters gathered across France on Tuesday night, November 17, to demonstrate over a proposed national security bill. The protests were held despite ongoing restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The bill would restrict the dissemination of video footage used to identify police officers and gendarmes 'with intent to harm'. Opponents of the law argue that intent is vague and hard to prove. In Paris, thousands gathered at the National Assembly and police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. Protests were also reported in Rennes, Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Grenoble.
Further protests are reportedly planned in the coming days and will likely be accompanied by a heightened security presence and localized disruptions to transport. Further clashes between demonstrators and security forces are possible during future protests.
Those in France are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate disruptions to transport and businesses in the vicinity of protests, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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