France to end state of emergency, keep anti-terror powers

Oct. 31 (UPI) — The government of France will officially end its state of emergency Wednesday, almost two years after the 2015 terror attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

Although the state of emergency will end, the extra powers given to law enforcement to combat terrorism will not. Instead, French President Emmanuel Macron signed many of those counter-terrorism powers into law with the approval of a parliamentary majority, reported the Independent.

The new law gives police greater authority to conduct searches, close religious facilities, place more security in potential target areas like Christmas markets and restrict the movements of people suspected of having ties to terrorism, reported Metro.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb called the new law a “fair balance between security and freedom.”

But the law, which has been in the legislative process since June, has some worried that the French government is making a permanent state of emergency and giving the federal government extrajudicial powers.

“They tell us we’re ending the state of emergency, but they are actually making it eternal. It’s an intellectual scam,” Marie-Jane Ody, vice president of a judges union, told French newspaper Le Figaro, according to France 24.

“Imagine a fascist-like group rises to power. All the legal instruments would be in place to commit abuses,” Ody added.

The French government has already been criticized for using state of emergency powers to quell protests by several organizations, including Amnesty International.

France declared the current state of emergency after terrorists shot and killed 90 concert-goers at Paris’ Bataclan music venue on Nov. 13, 2015. Gunmen and suicide bombers attacked other areas in the country’s capital city, killing 10 more people. Seven perpetrators were also killed by police in the terror spree, bring the total death count to 137.

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