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Lower house of French parliament votes to extend state of emergency

14 December 2016 15:41

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The lower house of the French parliament has voted to extend a nation-wide state of emergency for another six months.

The National Assembly passed a motion early on Wednesday to extend the emergency state until July 15, 2017, after the presidential election in the European country.

The legislative measure will also need to be approved by French lawmakers in the parliament’s upper house, the Senate, where an easy pass is expected on Thursday.

It would be the fifth renewal of the national emergency state, which first came into force in November 2015 after the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group carried out a string of attacks in and around the French capital of Paris, killing 130 people.

Extraordinary police powers, however, failed to prevent another major terror attack, in the coastal city of Nice, that killed 86 participants in a national holiday event during street celebrations in July.

People sit next to candles, flowers, flags and various items placed in commemoration of the victims of a terrorist attack, in Nice, southeastern France, October 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

During the Paris attacks in 2015, Daesh-affiliated terrorists used guns and explosive vests to strike almost simultaneously a concert hall, a major stadium, and restaurants and bars, injuring hundreds in addition to those killed.

French President Francois Hollande described the terror attacks as an “act of war.” Police forces conducted hundreds of raids across the country in search of suspects. Raids were also conducted in the Belgian city of Brussels, where a main suspect was arrested.

In the Nice attack, another Daesh-affiliated terrorist, identified as a 31-year-old Tunisian, drove a truck into crowds of people celebrating the Bastille Day holiday on a major street, killing the 86, including a number of children, and wounding over 300 people.

Police officers protest

Meanwhile, French police officers have taken to the streets of the capital to protest violence against law enforcement officers.

The police officers demonstrated on Tuesday to also call for more resources under the difficult working conditions that the state of emergency has created.

French police carry a flag-draped coffin as several hundred police and gendarmes take part in a demonstration to protest against anti-police violence, in Paris, France, December 13, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

The organizers of the rally expressed dissatisfaction with promises of new cars and bullet-proof vests. They demanded action on the part of the judiciary and against offenders as well.

“Effectively, right now, the police have become targets and now it is with impunity that one can hit an officer, can throw stones at him, throw a Molotov cocktail at their car. Now there is a perception that offenders are acting with impunity, protected by justice,” said Isabelle Biland-Perennes, the president of the Collective of Angry Police officers (CLIP).

Police officers in France have recently held several rallies over a number of attacks targeting them. Unions believe that a surge in gang violence and militant attacks has put pressure on police forces.

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