France declares Permanent Police State
France is considering extending the state of emergency that has been in place since the Paris attacks in November despite criticism from human rights groupsand United Nations experts.
The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, told the BBC that the state of emergency must remain in place for the “necessary” period of time and “until we can get rid of” Islamic State. “As long as the threat is there, we must use all the means,” he said.
Valls’s comments sparked debate in Paris about how long the extra emergency police powers could be allowed. A final decision is expected next week, but the French president, François Hollande, has told senior figures that an extension of the measures is probable.
The government declared a state of emergency within hours of the first shots by gunmen on 13 November, when a series of attacks across Paris left 130 people dead. But the powers – which hark back to the Algerian war in the 1950s – were later redefined and extended for three months until 26 February.
The state of emergency allows police to conduct house raids and searches without a warrant or judicial oversight, including at night, and gives extra powers to officials to place people under house arrest outside the normal judicial process. It also allows for restrictions on large gatherings.