The highest administrative authority was seized Wednesday by associations and unions which denounce “an attack on the fundamental freedom to demonstrate”. The interim judge will make his decision at the start of next week at the latest, if not doubled up on Sunday by Emmanuel Macron.
More than 20,000 people before the Paris court on June 2, several thousand throughout France the following weekend to denounce racism and police violence, yellow vests and caregivers on the street. Since the end of confinement, the demonstrations have been linked. But this resumption of the dispute is done in spite of article 6 of the decree of May 11 which prohibits any gathering of more than ten people throughout France.
Asked Tuesday about it on RMC, the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, did not want to reaffirm this ban, but did not lift it. Several unions want the immediate suspension of this decree. They see in him “An infringement of the fundamental freedom to demonstrate” and filed three applications with the Council of State. The arguments of the League for Human Rights, the CGT and four other trade union organizations were heard there on Thursday morning.
“Unequal and arbitrary”
“We cannot wait, the right to demonstrate is not a luxury, it is the center of democratic life”, summarizes Paul Mathonnet, lawyer for the CGT. “We say to the French that they can go to mass, to the cafe but not to a demonstration, it’s hardly acceptable”, adds Patrice Spinosi, who defends the League for Human Rights. They point to a decree which makes it difficult to organize demonstrations which, however “Are taking place and will still take place”. “The authorization would allow consultation with the authorities on the choice of location, route, supervision by the police”, Patrice Spinosi believes.
A “Bundle of tickets”, erected in demonstration, by hand, Paul Mathonnet also denounces a ban applied in a manner “Unequal and arbitrary”. Although the overwhelming majority of recent protesters came masked, not everyone was treated the same. The rally in memory of Georges Floyd organized Tuesday, Place de la République in Paris, by SOS racism did not result in any police intervention while other demonstrators, such as those of the solidarity march of May 30, in the same place, were fined 135 euros for “Prohibited gathering”.
The unions affirm that they are now able to organize rallies while respecting barrier gestures, by encouraging the wearing of masks and the distances between participants. They point out that these gatherings are held in the open air, which reduces the risk of spreading the virus. For his part, Charles Touboul, the director of legal affairs at the Ministry of Health, ensures that the ban is “Reviewed almost every day” by the government. Present at the hearing to present the arguments of the executive, he raised the possibility that it would be repealed or that a “Middle solution” be found in the coming days. But “Probably not before Sunday”, day of Emmanuel Macron’s speech.
The interim judge will make her decision at the beginning of next week at the latest, if it is not doubled by the government. “We hope that the Council will take a decision, even in principle. But if the government anticipates, there is a risk of not ruling, “ explains Michaël Ghnassia, the lawyer for SOS racisme. He does not rule out attacking the next government decree if the association does not find it satisfactory. In the meantime, a call for mobilization for caregivers was launched for June 16 by the CGT and Céline Verzetti, who came to represent the union at the hearing, said that she “Will continue to organize demonstrations, whatever the outcome”.