08:41 GMT28 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The French parliament late on Tuesday passed a bill on global security, criminalising the publication of images of police officers online, despite the recent riots against the legislation being criticised for possibly infringing upon the freedom of the press.

    "Deputies adopted the proposed global security bill in its first reading. Voting: 558. Majority: 247. For: 388. Against: 104. Abstentions: 66", the National Assembly wrote on Twitter late on Tuesday.

    The draft law will be further considered by the upper house of the French parliament in January.

    Article 24 of the bill, which has come under special criticism as it makes it illegal to distribute videos and photos identifying law enforcement officers and thereby violate their "physical or mental integrity", was approved by parliament on Friday, against the backdrop of demonstrations over the past week.

    © AP Photo / Christophe Ena
    France police protests

    Critics of the legislation have said it may hamper the functions of mass media to cover protests and inform the population, while also violating the freedom of expression.

    Supporters, on the other hand, claim its main purpose is to provide more protection to security personnel who have been subjected to a series of violent acts over the past several months, including an attack on a police unit in the Paris suburb of Champigny-Sur-Marne in mid-October that prompted a demonstration by police officers demanding better protection from the state.

    French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Twitter that the government has never had any intention to undermine the freedom of the press and expression, adding that he would refer the bill's controversial Article 24 to the country's Constitutional Court. The article notably includes a one-year prison sentence or a fine of 45,000 euros (over $53,000) for the distribution of police images.

    Voting on the draft bill came a day after French police dismantled a migrant camp in central Paris, using controversial methods to disperse refugees that resulted in a probe being launched against the security forces.

    French National Assembly, National Assembly, Police, Jean Castex, France
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