France renews state of emergency for sixth time
The French parliament has voted to extend a state of emergency in France for the sixth time since it was declared following deadly terrorist attacks in the French capital in 2015.
On Thursday, French lawmakers voted 137 to 13 to extend the measure until November. It had been extended five times already.
The emergency state gives security forces greater freedom to carry out raids and surveillance. It also permits authorities to restrict the movement of people and vehicles at specific times and places.
It was the first time the state of emergency was being extended under French President Emmanuel Macron, who has vowed to lift it but also to have some of its measures turned into permanent law under a new bill.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Thursday that there was good reason for the emergency state to be extended.
“We certainly need to extend the state of emergency. Why? Because since the beginning of the year, we had already prevented seven attacks, which could have made a lot of victims,” Collomb said.
France has in the past couple of years been the target of frequent terrorist attacks, together killing more citizens than sporadic attacks in other European countries. A series of terrorist raids in November 2015 alone killed some 130 people and led the government of the then-President Francois Hollande to introduce the state of emergency for the first time.
The state of emergency and the bill proposed by President Macron’s government have both been criticized by civil rights groups, which say they restrict civil liberties.