In France one of the measures the people use to help protect themselves from police brutality is a website the shows videos of police attacks and violations of the law. The content of the website is user generated as people upload videos and pictures of police abusing their power. However since repeated complaints by police agencies, a judge has ordered all French Internet service providers to block access to these websites.
French police services have praised the move:
“The judges have analyzed the situation perfectly — this site being a threat to the integrity of the police — and made the right decision,”
– Jean-Claude Delage, Secretary General of the Police Union
Free speech advocates have already begun reacting to the ruling calling it a blow to freedom of speech and several members called for internet companies to refuse the court order. Many are publicly acknowledging that this is severe act of fascism as it helps protect police from being prosecuted for taunting protesters, beating suspects and violating human rights laws.
The website called Copwatch Nord Paris I-D-F is associated with other cop-watching groups in the US that began in the 1990s. The movement began under the US First Amendment protecting freedom of speech. Courts have ruled that filming police in public is protected by it. However in France there is no such guarantees of free speech.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has already prepared a justification for this blatant attack on the people rights: he has called for the development of a “civilized Internet”. In this Sarkozy idea of a “civilized Internet”, it is protection against the spread of child pornography and enforcing stricter copyright laws. This is the cover that is being given for taking away what little civilian oversight of the police that exists.
Police are claiming that it infringes on their rights, they say it gives the possibility that their personal information can get out. These pictures are said to connect to social networks where they have expressed far-right opinions. One officer even claims that he found a bullet in his mailbox.
The fascist nature behind this new law is obvious. The government of France is clearly trying to protect the bodyguards of the wealthy elite, and their far-right reactionary nature. This amply shows that it is the right wing that is interested in a totalitarian government. The rebellious power of the people will only grow as the economic situation worsens in Europe over possible bankruptcies. The fascist measures by the state to protect the rich will only get worse from here.