• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Disquiet grows over French state of emergency
Protesters march behind a banner reading "To put an end to the state of emergency" during a protest against the state of emergency in Rennes on Saturday. Photo: Jean-Francois Monier/AFP

Disquiet grows over French state of emergency

AFP · 24 Jan 2016, 16:40

Published: 24 Jan 2016 16:40 GMT+01:00

The state of emergency was imposed after gunmen and suicide bombers attacked a string of Parisian cafes and restaurants, a concert hall and football stadium, leaving 130 dead and hundreds injured on November 13.

It has led to over 2,500 police raids and hundreds of arrests under emergency policing powers that government wants written into the constitution.

The French Human Rights League (LDH), one of many bodies now questioning the efficacy of the harsher measures, said recently that only four legal procedures relating to terrorism had emerged from the spate of police operation

A demonstrator in Rennes on January 23, 2016 holds a sign reading "State of emergency, police state, no security, no freedom"

"The political trap of a state of emergency is closing on the government (because) there will always be a good reason to keep" it in place, said LDH lawyer Patrice Spinozi.

And Jean-Jacques Urvoas, the president of the parliamentary commission of laws argued that the "element of surprise" against potential terrorist networks has been "largely reduced".

The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks warned earlier this month that the state of emergency could constitute a "threat" to democracy.

He raised concerns about ethnic profiling of suspects facing police searches.

And a panel of UN human rights experts said last week the measures placed what they saw as "excessive and disproportionate" restrictions on key rights.

- One and indivisible -

The current three-month state of emergency expires on February 26 and an extension will give government time to adopt reforms to enshrine new security measures into the constitution,

A sense of creeping unease over civil liberties has turned to outright opposition to the state of emergency in many quarters

None has been more divisive than a reform proposed by the Socialist president to strip French citizenship from people convicted of terrorist offences, if they have another nationality.

Rights activists, intellectuals as well as those within the Socialist party have criticised a measure they see as a betrayal of France's founding principles, in which the republic is "one and indivisible".

France's National Human Rights Commission (CNCDH) said the loss of nationality was "of no use in the prevention of terrorist acts."

The commission said it would establish "different treatment" between French people holding dual citizenship and those who are only French, a move "radically opposed to all republican values."

A group of 70 non governmental organisations have called for a protest on January 30 against the measure.

"For us it is definitely non!" they wrote in a declaration.

Protesters march behind a banner reading "To put an end to the state of emergency" in Rennes on January 23, 2016

On Saturday the National Council of Bars, which represents French lawyers, said it was concerned to see the construction of "a judicial and social model which breaks with republican values".

Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the BBC on Friday that France would "use all means" at its disposal to combat terrorism "until we can get rid of Daesh," an acronym for Islamic State.

Story continues below…

However, a source close to Valls told AFP "it is not envisaged in any way to extend it indefinitely."

When asked about the government's intentions regarding the state of emergency, the source said simply that France was at "war", hence "we shall see if we are going to extend it (for) as long as necessary."

The state of emergency boosts police powers, allowing house arrests, raids both day and night and the banning of public gatherings, without permission from a judge.

The lives of the majority of French people have not been affected by the state of emergency, and a recent poll showed 70 percent of people wanted it kept in place.

But there have been cases of violence during police raids, mistaken identity and people losing their jobs because they were placed under house arrest.

For the first time on Friday the Conseil d'Etat -- the highest administrative court -- stopped a house arrest and fined the State as the person in question had not been proved to belong to an Islamist grouping.

The Conseil d'Etat will on Tuesday examine a request from the LDH to end the state of emergency.

Today's headlines
France's top court suspends burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court has suspended a town's ban on wearing the full-body burqini swimsuit.

Milk price raised, but French farmers still unhappy
The sign on the tractor reads 'We're dying', as farmers blocked Lactalis dairy headquarters. Photo: AFP

Milk prices have been raised by France's biggest dairy group to placate farmers, but unions say their demands have not been met.

Burqini bans 'dividing France's Muslim women'
Photo: AFP

The burqini bans have divided France, but they have also left Muslim women in France in two groups, argues a professor who has spent years studying the impact of the burqa.

Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

No more need to deal with grumpy French waiters...

Heatwave drags on as France faces red-hot weekend
Photo: AFP

France will see searing temperatures on Friday and Saturday, as the heatwave warnings have been extended (once again).

Nice: The French capital of burqini fines
The beach in the Riviera city of Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

It's one of only two of the 30 towns with a burqini ban in place to have actually given out any fines.

How to make France's famed Île Flottante dessert
Photo: Paul Oatway

France-based food blogger Laura Tobin shares her recipe for this delicious French dessert.

France's top court set to rule on burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court will decide this afternoon whether to overturn the burqini ban.

Corsica bushfire leaves 500 hectares scorched
Photos: AFP

A massive fire left 500 hectares of bushland in Corsica ravaged.

View from the rue
What do Parisians think of France's burqini bans?
Photo: AFP

With 64 percent of the French against burqinis at the beach, what do the Parisians think?

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,761
jobs available