Twenty-four environmental activists have been placed under house arrest ahead of the Paris climate summit, using France’s state of emergency laws. Two of them slammed an attack on civil liberties in an interview with FRANCE 24.
French security forces have been on edge since Islamist gunmen killed 130 people in a deadly rampage across Paris on November 13, in the country’s worst ever terrorist attacks.
The ensuing state of emergency, declared by President François Hollande and extended by lawmakers for three months, has given police sweeping powers to search homes, handcuff residents and place people under house arrest, without judicial oversight.
On Thursday, one such raid in the western city of Rennes led police into an apartment shared by several unsuspecting flatmates.
“They entered the apartment with shotguns and assault rifles. It was quite violent. They pinned us to the ground,” said Amélie, a young barmaid who did not wish to give her full name. “It lasted quite a long time. We had no idea why they were there.”
The officers handed Amélie a restraining order informing her that she can no longer leave Rennes, is required to register three times a day at the local police station, and must stay at home between 8pm and 6am.
The order ends on December 12, the day the Paris climate summit draws to a close.