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France Bans Protesters From Wearing Masks

Posted June. 22, 2009 08:44,   


The French government has banned demonstrators from wearing masks at protests to prevent violence.

In a government bulletin issued Saturday, a prime ministerial order was issued banning protests by demonstrators who wear masks.

A first-time violator will be fined up to 1,500 euros (2,087 U.S. dollars) and a second offense committed within a year after the first will warrant a fine of up to 3,000 euros (4,175 dollars). In France, where the government holds strong administrative power, the president and prime minister can issue a “d’ecret,” which has the same effect as law.

When violent clashes erupted in April between demonstrators and police in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Strasbourg, French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared a “war against violence” and pledged related measures at the earliest date.

Some of the anti-NATO demonstrators in Strasbourg wore hempen hoods to cover their faces above the neck. “Casseurs,” or smashers, have worn such hoods while smashing store windows, setting cars on fire, beating and robbing ordinary people passing by and throwing objects at riot police. They created in 2005 a law-and-order problem in evoking the weeks-long rioting that rocked the suburbs of French cities.