France extends state of emergency for sixth time

The extension gives security forces greater freedom to carry out raids and surveillance and has been in place since November 2015 when a string of jihadist attacks in Paris left 130 people dead.

Published: 06th July 2017 10:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th July 2017 10:22 PM   |  A+A-

Police attend the scene on Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Monday, June 19, 2017. A man on the radar of French authorities was killed Monday after ramming a car carrying explosives into a police vehicle in the capital's Champs-Elysees shopping district, prompting a fiery blast, officials said. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation. (AP Photo/Matthieu Alexandre)

By AFP

PARIS: French lawmakers voted for the sixth time to extend the country's state of emergency on Thursday as interior ministry figures showed security forces have thwarted more than one terror attack a month on average this year.

The newly elected parliament, dominated by MPs from centrist President Emmanuel Macron's new party, voted 137 in favour to 13 against to extend the state of emergency until November.

It gives security forces greater freedom to carry out raids and surveillance and has been in place since November 2015 when a string of jihadist attacks in Paris left 130 people dead

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb argued it was necessary to keep French people safe, adding: "Since the start of the year we've stopped seven plots which could have caused many deaths."  

A foiled plot in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille in April, when two men with an arsenal of guns and explosives were arrested days before the presidential election, could have had "dreadful" consequences, he told the Cnews network.

Macron, a 39-year-old elected in May, has promised that the state of emergency will expire in November. 

But his government is working on a new security law which will make many of the emergency measures permanent.

Twelve human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, called on lawmakers on Wednesday to drop the state of emergency and reject the new law.

Collomb said the law would enable the government to continue shuttering mosques where imams are deemed to be condoning terrorism. Closures could be ordered for six months at a time, on a rolling basis. 

"Today there are three (mosques) that we want to close... since the start of the state of emergency we've closed 16," he said. 

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