In Paris, the police prefecture counted 2,000 "yellow vests" shortly before 4 pm, against nearly 4,000 last Saturday according to a police source. – AFP

"Yellow vests" arrested Wednesday in Paris on the sidelines of
the arrest of Eric Drouet, asked the Defender of rights to open an investigation into these "attacks on freedom" intended according to them to "gag" the challenge, learned AFP Saturday from their lawyers. These people were arrested Wednesday evening as they went to the Place de la Concorde, in response to the call for an "action" launched by Eric Drouet a few hours earlier on social networks.

The latter was arrested around 9:00 pm for "organizing a demonstration without prior declaration", his arrest provoking outrage from both right and left political representatives. At least 31 of its supporters have been held for several hours "on the pretext" of identity checks, according to their lawyers. Two others of their clients have been placed in custody for "participation in a crowd after summons", but the proceedings against them were closed Thursday night.

Attentive to freedom

"The attack on the freedom to come and go of all these perfectly peaceful people, most of them in motion at the time of the arrests, is not in the least doubtful", write My William Bourdon, Vincent Brengarth and CĂ©line Mokrane in this mail sent Friday to the Defender of rights Jacques Toubon. "We are worried about such measures that (…) seem to pursue a dissuasive purpose", is it written in this letter consulted by AFP.

"A new level seems now to have been crossed" with the use by the authorities to the offense of "participation in a crowd", considered "as a political offense" by the Court of Cassation, remind lawyers. According to them, "the criminal law does not have to be used as an instrument to gag the democratic rights and in particular the right to demonstrate. "

Eric Drouet's lawyer had denounced Wednesday in a statement an arrest conducted "arbitrarily at the request of the Paris Police Prefecture and without the parquet floor of Paris, decidedly very docile and accommodating, do not object or play his role of controlling the custody.

This Saturday, the "yellow vests" have planned an eighth weekend of action to try to remobilize, despite the decline during the holidays, including the controversy born after the arrest of Eric Drouet.

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