PARIS: Macron signs into law controversial 'anti-rioters' bill.

French President  Emmanuel Macron has signed into law legislation giving security forces greater powers at demonstrations that opponents claim violates civil liberties, the official journal said Thursday.

The bill, which was approved by  lawmakers  in February, aims to crack down on violence that has marred the ''yellow vest'' protest movement which has rocked France since erupting in November.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Thursday hailed the law as a ''text which protects the French in the face of insecurity and violence.''

''It's a text that protects our institutions and our liberties,'' he wrote on Twitter.

But in a move indicative of the political trouble, caused for Macron by the ''yellow vest'' movement, France's Constitutional Council, its highest constitutional authority, refused this month to give the green light to one of the most contentious parts of of the legislation.

It would have given  the authorities the power to ban from demonstrations any individual ''posing a particularly serious threat to public order.''

That article was accompanied by a file of names of people wanted by the police, which critics strongly denounced as violating citizens freedom of assembly as protected in the constitution.

But the council did approve two other key parts of the legislation, including giving the authorities the power to search bags and cars in and around demonstrations at the demand of a prosecutor.

It also approved making it a criminal offense to conceal the face at a demonstration, punishable by a year in prison and  $17,000 in fines. [Agencies]


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