• France's news in English
France votes to keep state of emergency for six months
Photo: AFP

France votes to keep state of emergency for six months

AFP · 20 Jul 2016, 08:38

Published: 20 Jul 2016 08:38 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

France's National Assembly voted by a huge majority early Wednesday for a proposed law that would extend the state of
emergency for six months following last week's massacre in Nice.

The state of emergency has been in place since the Paris attacks in November, and the extension would see the measures -- which give the police extra powers to carry out searches and place people under house arrest -- remain in place until the end of January 2017.

After seven-hours of at times tense debate, the parliament voted early on Wednesday morning in favour of the law 489 to 26 -- the fourth time the state of emergency has been prolonged.

The National Assembly also voted to allow authorities to search luggage and vehicles without prior approval from a prosecutor.

The law now needs to pass through the Senate, which is set to vote on it Wednesday afternoon.

President Francois Hollande had last Thursday announced a plan to lift the emergency security measures, but changed tack hours later after a truck driver ploughed through a crowd at Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, killing 84 people in an attack later claimed by the Islamic State group.

Hollande's Socialist government has been under heavy criticism from the right for its response to the slew of extremist attacks.

The fact the president was open to the six-month extension was seen as a concession to opposition Republicans who have demanded that the state of emergency be maintained through to the end of the year.

With elections due next year, the political unity seen after last year's attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has evaporated.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has defended the government, saying it has bolstered security notably by sending thousands of troops into the streets.

'Live with the threat'

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned Tuesday that the country must be prepared for more deadly attacks and will have to "learn to live with the threat".

But the Socialists have also said they will draw the line at some of the opposition's more controversial demands.

Story continues below…

Republicans leader and former president Nicolas Sarkozy, eyeing another run for the top job next year, has called for anyone showing signs of being radicalised to be forced to wear an electronic tag, placed under house arrest or kept in a detention centre.

While some on the right think the six-month extension is not sufficient, there are also critics on the left concerned about civil liberties who say even with the state of emergency in place an attack occurred.

"We can't lock people up on the basis of mere suspicion, or suspicion of suspicion," minister for parliamentary relations Jean-Marie Le Guen said on Tuesday.

Valls hit out at the Republicans number two, Laurent Wauquiez, after Wednesday morning's National Assembly vote."While this government is in place in France, there will be no detention of suspects for an indeterminate duration," he said.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available