France extends state of emergency until late May

Parliament votes for extension as interior minister warns "terrorist" threat is high after attacks last year in Paris.

    France extends state of emergency until late May
    France has been under a state of emergency since November after attacks in Paris [Francois Mori/AP Photo]

    The French parliament has voted to extend the country's state of emergency by a further three months, allowing authorities to carry out police raids and put people under house arrest without prior authorisation of a judge.

    French President Francois Hollande had pushed for the extension of the state of emergency, which has been in place since November 13, 2015, when armed attackers killed at least 130 people across various locations in Paris.

    Emergency rule will now be extended until at least May 26, following the vote by the National Assembly on Tuesday.

    Deputies gave the green light by 212 votes to 31 with three abstentions, a day after the upper house, the Senate, approved the extension by overwhelming majority.

    Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve argued in Tuesday's debate that the threat of new "terrorist" violence remains very high.

    The decision comes despite rights groups saying the state of emergency undermined fundamental freedoms.

    Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International published separate research at the beginning of February, pointing to cases in which excessive force had been used in raids, leading to human rights violations including violence.

    The November 13 attacks were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

    ISIL's claim triggered a backlash against Muslim communities - not just in France, but across Europe and elsewhere.

    There are between 5.5 million and 6.2 million Muslims in France, or roughly 7.6 percent of the total population - making the group the largest Muslim minority in Europe. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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