Dozens of protesters launch projectiles at riot police, smash up shop windows, torch cars, and burn barricades during a demonstration in French capital against police violence and controversial security bill.

A demonstrator holds an umbrella and a sign reading
A demonstrator holds an umbrella and a sign reading "For your safety, you will have no more freedoms" during a protest against controversial police bill, in Paris, France, on December 5, 2020. (Reuters)

Thousands have protested in France to denounce police violence and President Emmanuel Macron's security policy plans which the demonstrators say would crimp civil liberties.

In capital Paris, violence erupted on Saturday for the second consecutive weekend with demonstrators clashing with police, set alight vehicles, and smashing shop windows.

The police fired back volleys of tear gas.

Windows of a supermarket, property agency and bank were broken while several cars burst into flames along Avenue Gambetta as demonstrators marched towards the central Place de la Republique, AFP news agency said.

Objects were also thrown at police who responded by using tear gas, in a repeat of the violent scenes from the protests last weekend against the security law that would restrict publishing pictures of the faces of police.

READ MORE: UN experts: France must revise police bill infringing on human rights

'Limitation of freedoms'

In a U-turn earlier this week, Macron's ruling party said it would rewrite part of a draft security bill that would curb rights to circulate images of police officers after it provoked a strong backlash among the public and the political left.

The protesters marched through the French capital under the close watch of riot police, waving banners that read "France, land of police rights" and "Withdrawal of the security law".

"We're heading towards an increasingly significant limitation of freedoms. There is no justification," said Paris resident Karine Shebabo

Another protester, Xavier Molenat, said: "France has this habit of curbing freedoms while preaching their importance to others."

"This law is a disgrace for France, which has been singled out internationally by the UN and a hundred or so human rights organisations," Adrien Quatennens, a lawmaker from northern France said.

"And Emmanuel Macron, what is his answer? A Facebook post and a 2h30 communication exercise on a media channel, on a social network whose journalist had to endure violence last week. We are here to say one thing: they must back down, this law must be withdrawn."

READ MORE: Macron denies France is stifling freedoms amid crackdown on Muslims

Police violence

The beating of a Black man, music producer Michel Zecler, by several police officers in late November intensified public anger. 

That incident came to light after closed-circuit television and mobile phone footage circulated online.

Critics had said the original bill would make it harder to hold the police to account in a country where some rights groups allege systemic racism inside law enforcement agencies. 

Many opponents of the draft law say it goes too far even as rewritten.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies