Hundreds protest against state of emergency bill in Paris

Hundreds rally in Paris against emergency draft law that gives police broad powers, includes stripping citizenship of terror convicts

Photo by: AA (Archive)
Photo by: AA (Archive)

Protesters take part in demonstration against the state of emergency in France at Place Saint Michel in Paris, on March 12, 2016.

Hundreds of people took to the streets in France's capital city Paris on Saturday to protest against a draft bill that calls for stripping citizenship of terrorism convicts and enhancing powers of state authorities even further in the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks in France.

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France, a Paris-based non-governmental organisation, along with several other groups and leftist political parties in the country participated in the march.

Protesters held banners saying: "No to state of emergency", "We are not going to give up" and "State of emergency must be lifted."

Yasser Louati, spokesman for the anti-Islamophobia organisation said a total of 3,400 houses and workplaces had been searched so far by the police, but only five people ended up being sued for alleged terror links since the state of emergency was declared following the deadly Paris attacks in November 2015.

"The aim is not an anti-terror fight. Mosques, halal restaurants, women wearing headscarves have been targeted. Doors have been smashed and houses rummaged. By making Muslims pay for the attacks, the state says: ‘Look, I am fighting against terror’," he added.

Protestors hold a banner during a demonstration against the state of emergency in France at Place Saint Michel in Paris, on March 12, 2016.  AA)
Protestors at a demonstration against the state of emergency in France at Place Saint Michel in Paris, on March 12, 2016. (AA)

On Feb. 16 the French government extended a 12 day state of emergency within hours of the DAESH-claimed attacks that killed 130 people on Nov. 13 last year. 

The draft, ‘Protection of the Nation’ package consists of constitutional amendments aimed at including the state of emergency in the constitution as well as stripping citizenship from all French nationals convicted of terror offences.

It also strengthened controversial “anti-terrorism” powers for the police forces, including the right to conduct house raids without a warrant.

Several national and international human rights bodies have criticised France’s state of emergency and other measures taken in the aftermath of the terror attacks.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued reports in February pointing towards the harmful effects of the state of emergency, which seem to have been especially felt by the French Muslim community in the country.

TRTWorld, AA