Paris, France: Footage from Paris shows thousands of robed judges and lawyers carrying a coffin and chanting protest songs as they marched on the streets of Paris, Wednesday. They are protesting against proposed justice reforms which would reportedly see a merger of high courts and the courts of first instance. They are also said to be demanding the resignation of Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet.
The rally which lasted for several hours route was began with a gathering of the judges and lawyers at the ‘Place du Châtelet’ and ended at the ‘rue de la Paix’.
Protest organizers, the Conseil National des Barreaux (CNB), which represents local bar associations across France earlier called for a national demonstration by the entire profession against reforms being introduced by justice minister Nicole Belloubet.
The action, under the slogan ‘dead justice’ (#justicemorte), followed a series of local events including strikes, ‘robed marches’ and lie-down protests.
In a statement, the CNB says the 2018-2022 reform programme marks a new retreat in the rights of defendants and civil liberties.
“Justice is a balance. On the one hand the accusation and on the other side the defence. If you unbalance this scale it will not be fair justice anymore. In other words, we want judges and not robots,” said Marie-Aimee Peyron, Head of Lawyers’ Union of France.
Meanwhile France President, Emmanuel Macrons’ justice minister Nicole Belloubet has denied any intention to weaken the justice system.