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France

Sarkozy unveils battle plan against gang violence

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-04-21

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has unveiled tough new measures to tackle gang violence and delinquency during a rally in Nice, but police and magistrate unions remain unconvinced.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented key new security measures to crack down on gang violence and delinquents at a political rally in Nice, on the French Riviera. The plan, unveiled two months before scheduled European elections, expands on the kind of measures that built Sarkozy’s popularity and helped carry him to power.

 

Designed by UMP representative and mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, under the close supervision of the president’s office, the bill is intended to reinforce existing ‘anti-gang’ legislation. It will be examined by the French parliament at the end of April.

 

Under the new law, it would be illegal to “knowingly join a group of individuals formed with the intention of harming persons or goods”. The offense would be punishable with up to three years in prison.

 

Police and magistrate unions soon criticised the measure as “useless and repetitive”, arguing that “organised criminal activity” is already an offense.

 

The bill also outlaws wearing hoods or masks during public demonstrations, and storming schools during protests. The latter offense could entail up to seven years in prison and a fine of 100,000 euros.

 

Date created : 2009-04-21

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