Paris (AFP)

The right-wing majority Senate adopted on Thursday at first reading the controversial LREM bill on "global security", after having largely rewritten it, with in particular a new article 24 which creates an offense of "provocation to identification" police officers.

Renamed "for a new security pact respecting freedoms", it was voted by 238 votes in favor and 98 against.

"It is a bit the signature of the crime: you are obliged to write + freedoms + in the title so it is obvious that this law affects them", launched Pierre Laurent (CRCE with communist majority) in the senatorial majority.

Deputies and senators will try to agree on a common text.

In case of failure, a new reading will be organized in both chambers, the last word going to the National Assembly.

The main novelty brought by the upper house is the rewriting of article 24 which must protect the police in operation, but crystallized the criticisms, causing an outcry among journalists.

The senators' version no longer refers to the 1881 law on freedom of the press, but aims to create in the penal code a new offense of "provocation to identification".

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin reaffirmed that the government "trusted" the Parliament for the drafting, as long as the desired goal, namely the protection of police officers and gendarmes in operation, was preserved.

The upper house voted for the device aimed at facilitating the use of pedestrian cameras for police officers, but after removing the possibility for the police to broadcast the images of their interventions in the media or on social networks.

Still on the aspect devoted to images, the Senate tightened the legal framework for the use of drones, to take into account the observations of the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (Cnil).

He also provided for the preparation by the Ministry of the Interior of a "drone employment doctrine".

It also adopted without modification the provision aimed at authorizing the carrying of weapons by off-duty police officers in places open to the public, despite opposition from elected officials of all stripes.

The bill still provides for a framework for private security, relaxed on several points by the senators.

The left has scrapped all week against the text which according to the Minister of the Interior "will significantly improve the work of the security continuum".

"We do not fundamentally believe in the safety continuum. At the end of the day, we will have a leopard skin," said Jérôme Durain (PS), while the ecologist Esther Benbassa regretted that "the public authorities are committed to a ever more repressive path ".

Françoise Gattel (centrist) on the contrary defended "the possibility given to exercise one's freedom in security".

The LR chairman of the Laws Commission François-Noël Buffet was pleased that the work of the Senate had made it possible to "bring back a little serenity" after the heated debates of last November.

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