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French parliament loosens rules for police opening fire in the line of duty

The French Senate has passed a law that increases the circumstances in which police may legally open fire. Police are now allowed to open fire on fleeing suspects, detainees and vehicles if they pose a deadly threat.

Frankreich Paris Louvre - Attentäter angeschossen (Reuters/C. Hartmann)

The Senate approved a law on Thursday that brings the powers of French police in line with those of its paramilitary gendarmerie.

While in the line of duty, police may now shoot at fleeing suspects or detainees who pose a threat to authorities' lives after giving two warnings.

Police may also now open fire on vehicles that ignore orders to stop and that also pose a deadly threat. Additionally, they can shoot to stop rampage killings.

The Senate's vote comes amidst renewed tensions in the outskirts of Paris after a local black man was allegedly raped by policemen with a baton during a check in Aulnay-sous-Bois two weeks ago. The French capital's northern suburbs have seen rioting for days since news of the incident broke, with dozens of arrests.

The victim, known only as Theo, was released from hospital on Thursday, local media reported.

Thursday's change comes four months after a firebomb attack in another Paris suburb seriously injured two officers and caused outrage in the police force.

Paris Bobigny Ausschreitungen (picture-alliance/abaca/F. Lafargue)

Riots erupted on the outskirts of Paris after police allegedly raped a young black man

The Senate-approved law also re-enacts a ban on repeatedly viewing extremist websites that show killings - one week after the measure was struck down by the Constitutional Council.

Attempting to work around the council's objections, the latest provision only makes viewing such sites a crime if the user also expresses support for the ideology of the site hosting the videos.

The militant "Islamic State" group, which claimed responsibility for deadly terror attacks in Paris in 2015 and Nice in 2016, have used the internet to spread propaganda.

rs/kl  (dpa, www.senat.fr)

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