French Government Using State Of Emergency As An Excuse To Round Up Climate Change Activists
from the mission-creep dept
In response to the attacks in Paris earlier this month, the French government has enacted a state of emergency. Like the War on Terror itself, this “state of emergency” has no discernible end in sight. The government has given itself an incredible amount of power for an indefinite period of time. When this power shift happens, abuse follows.
The Guardian is reporting that the nation’s law enforcement agencies are straying far from their original targets: those responsible for the attacks, along with anyone who appears to be sympathetic to the cause. The government now appears to be authorizing the arrest of anyone it can brand a troublemaker.
At least 24 climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next week’s Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.
One legal adviser to the activists said many officers raided his Paris apartment and occupied three floors and a staircase in his block.
French authorities did not respond to requests for comment but lawyers said that the warrants were issued under state of emergency laws, imposed after the terror attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month.
The French now understand what it’s like to be Spanish. Of course, it must be pointed out that very few countries, even a country once at the forefront of personal freedoms, would handle this situation any differently.
The Garland (TX) attack ushered in several months of stepped-up use of 24/7 monitoring on suspected ISIS supporters. FBI Director James Comey has described the period between May and July as one that stretched the FBI’s resources, and that isn’t sustainable. Dozens of arrests were made, in many cases not for terrorism-related charges if the FBI couldn’t gather enough evidence of a plot.
“In some cases we just needed to get people off the streets,” one senior law enforcement official said.
A few of the targeted activists have been placed under house arrest. Others have been handed restraining orders by local judges. Police have also been confiscating computers and personal documents during these raids.
Some might argue that until everything calms down in France, the best plan for activists is to lay low. This could prevent the hijacking of a cause as cover for a violent attack motivated by a different ideology. But this sort of advice only makes sense if the government had expressed a fear of large gatherings in general.
Some protesters argue that the permission granted to football matches, trade fairs and Christmas markets in Paris over the summit period suggests that the authorities’ real concern is to suppress dissent.
This makes the orders some received to limit participants to less than 50 look hypocritical, at best. At worst, it looks like the government is using its state of emergency powers to protect itself from vocal and highly-visible criticism.