May 1st Demonstrations: The Use of Drones Challenged in Court, and Suspended in Rouen

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Organizations have seized administrative justice to challenge several prefectural decrees authorizing the use of drones during the May Day demonstrations on Monday in France. Here, the administrative court of Nantes.

Several organisations have taken administrative action to challenge the prefectural decrees authorising the use of drones with on-board cameras during the May Day demonstrations. In Rouen, the decree was notably restricted, and completely suspended in certain areas.

Organisations have seized administrative justice to challenge several prefectural decrees authorizing the use of drones during the May 1st demonstrations on Monday in France, and partially won their case before the Rouen administrative court, we learned on Sunday. with the plaintiffs’ lawyer.

Suspension of the Seine-Maritime prefectural decree

The decree of the prefect of Seine-Maritime authorising the police to monitor the planned parade in Le Havre using drones was partially suspended on Sunday evening by the administrative court of Rouen, according to the decision consulted by AFP .

The court was seized in summary proceedings (emergency) by the Association for the Defence of Constitutional Liberties (Adelico) and the Syndicate of Lawyers of France (SAF), which requested the suspension of this decree which they describe as “illegal” , indicated their lawyer, Me Jean-Baptiste Soufron.

“An illegal attack on the freedom to come and go”

In his order, the judge in chambers considers that the authorisation granted by the prefectural decree is “likely to contribute to the security of the demonstration”, while “disturbances to public order have been committed” during previous protests against the pension reform in Le Havre, where moreover a “militant village” is organised in response to the holding of a meeting of the Rassemblement National (RN).

The judge considers, however, that the overflight by drones, authorized in “a wide area” and up to eight hours after the departure of the procession, “exceeds in time and space the need to ensure the security of the demonstration of the 1st May”, and thus carries “a serious and manifestly illegal attack on the freedom to come and go and on the right to respect for private life”.

The execution of the decree is therefore totally suspended in certain streets and “after 2 p.m.” in the rest of the overflight perimeter.

Three other appeals filed

Three similar appeals have been filed by Adelico and SAF against the decrees issued by the prefects of the Rhône, Gironde and Paris to challenge, according to Me Soufron, “the lack of publication of the rules for the use of drones, which results in too wide perimeters and too long durations .

In Lyon, the summary request was rejected on the grounds that there was “no urgency”, specified the lawyer for the organisations.

The other two requests will be examined Monday morning, at 8 a.m. by the Bordeaux administrative court and at 9 a.m. by that of Paris, he added.

An appeal against the decree authorising the use of drones by the police, published on April 20th in the Official Journal, must also be examined on May 15th by the Council of State, according to Me Soufron.

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