French Govt Seeks Constitutional Reform To Double State of Emergency Duration

It has been a month since the Paris terror attacks, which left 130 people dead and 352 injured,  and the French government is trying to change the country’s constitution- it wants to double the maximum duration of a state of emergency from 3 months to 6.

According to AFP, the proposal will be presented to ministers on December 23rd.

This “shocking”  pronouncement came to light only two days after Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the state of emergency could be extended beyond its current February 26th end date.

“Obviously, we can’t rule out that possibility, depending on the level of danger, and we have to act with a great deal of responsibility,” Valls said to Europe 1 radio.

The state of emergency has allowed the French government to conduct warrantless searches, putpeople under house arrest (such as activists), close the country’s borders, impose curfews and ban demonstrations.  The doubling of the maximum duration of the state of emergency allows for a lengthier trial run.

58 politicians, writers and head of charities have signed a letter demanding that the right to demonstrate be returned:
“Our best weapon against terrorists and disorder in the world is to get together, talk and express our opinions. That’s what Daesh (Islamic State) and others want to ban. This is what we stand for,” the letter stated, as quoted by The Local.

“This state of emergency grants the forces of order like the police and the army exceptional powers that puts people’s liberties at risks – whether it’s night-time raids on their homes, house arrests, or the ban on demonstrations,” lawyer Patrick Baudouin, Honorary President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), told The Local.

Valls said there had been a “restriction of freedoms” in order to “protect our freedoms.” 

 

Sources: RT, RT, The Guardian, WSJ, Business Insider, The Intercept, IB Times

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