France set to lengthen state of emergency measures

France plans change to constitution allowing extraordinary measures from states of emergency to extend 'to a maximum of six months'

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

The National Assembly of France, Paris.

The French Government is considering changing the country's constitution so that special powers granted by states of emergency may extend  "to a maximum of six months,” government sources said on Thursday.

France also extended exceptional measures authorised under a state of emergency in the country for three months on November 19 after deadly attacks in the capital which left 130 people dead and more than 350 wounded.

The government sources stated that the proposal will be made to ministers on December 23.

However, some activists and lawyers are worried about tighter security measures.

During the UN climate talks, officials have placed number of activists and lawyers under house arrest to prevent them joining protesters. So, they have accused the French Government of abusing its powers.

The extension of the state of emergency means police officers can be armed when off duty.

France President Francois Hollande speech at the national assembly on November 19 and said he advocated a change in the French constitution in order to allow authorities to act faster on emergency matters.

"With acts of war on Nov. 13, the enemy has moved a step further. Democracy has the capacity to react. In accordance with these principles, we will provide the means to guarantee the security of these citizens [...] but we must go beyond the urgency," Hollande stated during his speech.

The state of emergency is currently in effect until February and enables the authorities to make wide ranging searches, arrests and ban public gatherings.

French security forces have raided 2,235 houses and buildings, detained 232 people and seived 334 weapons, 34 of them war-grade, since Nov. 13.

Several terror attacks hit the French capital on Nov. 13, killing 130 people and injuring more than 350 others. The DAESH terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Seven terrorists died in the incident. Twenty seven-year old Belgian citizen of Moroccan origin, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was the key suspect thought to be responsible for the deadly attack was also killed in a police raid of an apartment building in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.

Although a number of people have been arrest during Belgium's ongoing terror alert, Salah Abdeslam - who is key suspect in the Paris attacks - still remains at large.

TRTWorld and agencies