France is planning to jail protesters who wear masks in the wake of weeks of violent demonstrations by the "yellow vest" movement.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said proposed legislation would target people who try to hide their identities while taking to the streets.
“We have to preserve the freedom to protest in France and punish those who want to violate this right,” Philippe said in an interview with broadcaster TF1 on Monday night.
His announcement follows weeks of anti-government protests which were sparked by a planned hike in gas taxes and have since morphed into a rebuke of President Emmanuel Macron’s policies.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Masks have been confiscated by police officers at some "yellow vest" protests. The legislation would allow perpetrators to be sent to jail. At the moment, the offense is considered more minor and is punished with a fine.
Philippe said the proposed law would result in troublemakers being forced to pay property damage occurring during demonstrations, instead of taxpayers.
However, he offered few details about the specifics his plan.
In France, demonstrations have to be declared and authorized by municipal authorities at least three days before the planned date. Failing to comply with this can result in an organizer serving up to six months in prison and paying a $8,574 fine. The new penalties that would be proposed under Philippe's proposed legislation were not immediately clear.