French government seeks to prolong state of emergency despite critics

Paris, Feb 4 (IANS) France will extend the state of emergency for three months as terrorism threats remain “extremely high”, the government’s spokesman Stephana Le Foll said on Wednesday.

“The state of emergency is useful in the fight against terrorism which remains extremely high,” Xinhua cited a quote by Le Foll to local media after a weekly cabinet meeting.

He also stressed that the state of emergency had been applied “with the respect of law” in a response to growing critics that blamed the Socialists for stifling freedom of expression and gathering by prolonging the state of emergency.

On Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets in France’s main cities to denounce the government’s constitution reforms which aimed at making it easier to impose a state of emergency and revoking citizenship from potential terrorist suspects.

After gunmen stormed simultaneously restaurants, coffees shops, theatre hall and stadium in central Paris, killing 130 people, French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency a day after Paris attacks, the first such decision since the Algerian War of Independence, in the 1950s and 1960s.

On November 19, the National Assembly voted for the government’ s proposal to extend state emergency to three months, which is expected to expire on February 26.

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