France Calls for Extension of State of Emergency
PHOTO: France wants to continue state of emergency through July. (courtesy Thinkstock)
To increase security for major events in the city, French officials are calling for an extension of the current state of emergency until the end of July.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls told France Info radio that the extension of the state of emergency until the end of July will "allow a better response against the terrorist threat" during the June 10-July 10 Euro 2016 tournament.
Euro 2016 is of particular concern to authorities who believe the it could be targeted, especially in fan zones where large numbers of spectators gather to watch games on big screens. According to French authorities, up to 8 million fans are expected to visit these areas and tournament organizers have already increased their security budget by 15 percent.
The state of emergency was scheduled to end on May 26 and its extension is one of several pieces of legislation being considered since the attacks that alter the authority of police and antiterrorism investigators. France’s parliament must vote to extend the state of emergency, which has already been extended twice.
For those visiting France and wondering what a state of emergency might mean for travelers, the country’s tourism board has provided information on its effects. The state of emergency does not mean that a curfew has been declared. Generally, the measures implemented aim to strengthen security and have no impact on the quality of the experience of foreign tourists in France.
It does mean that police and gendarmerie reinforcements have been deployed across France. In the Paris region alone, about 3,000 soldiers have been deployed to reinforce those already in place. Eventually, more than 5,000 additional police and gendarmes will ensure security.
Visitors should also expect that inspections and staff levels will be increased around the city, including on public transport and around public areas, including tourist attractions.
READ MORE: How France is Urging Visitors to Return
Human rights groups have said that the state of emergency is damaging to democracy and protests have erupted around the country. Thousands have taken to the streets to express their displeasure with the heightened security measures that many view as a restriction on their liberties.
Officials revealed that the police had conducted 3,289 raids since the attacks and that 303 people were being detained under house arrest.
Government spokesman, Stéphane Le Foll, said at a news conference that the state of emergency was “necessary” and had been “useful.” He added that it “must continue to be useful.”
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