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French state of emergency extended for three months

May 26, 2016 - FRANCE

A three-month state of emergency, imposed in November after attacks across Paris killed 130 people, was extended, controversially, to May. The French government is seeking to extend it to the end of July to cover the Euro 2016 football championship (Jun 10-10 Jul) and the Tour de France (Jul 2-24).

Critics fear the draconian law will be renewed indefinitely and assert that it does not make the country safer and opens the door to human rights abuses. Government ministers defend the law as an important tool to safeguard society.

The November attacks were claimed by the group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared in January that the state of emergency would be extended until ISIL was defeated. In an interview with the BBC, he said terrorism threatened "total and global war."

The state of emergency, extended by the French parliament on Feb 26, gives police the power to raid homes without warrants and to impose house arrests without first seeking judicial oversight. November saw the first use of the state of emergency in France since the Algerian War of Independence in the 1950s and 60s.

Marco Perolini, an Amnesty International researcher, told Al Jazeera after the extension was passed that his organization did not think the government had produced evidence to justify it. He warned that emergency measures had been relatively ineffective and accused the authorities of disproportionately targeting the country's Muslim population.

French parliament extends state of emergency to May 26 (France 24 16 Feb 2016)

France state of emergency 'extended on slim evidence' ( AlJazeera 17 Feb 2016)

Date written/update: 2016-04-22