The state of emergency declared in France and extended for three months, will allow authorities to shut down websites and gives police sweeping new powers.
In effect French citizens are being stripped of their civil liberties.
French police have been given new powers including the ability to put people under house arrest without trial, search homes without a search warrant and to block social media accounts and ban websites that are deemed to be a ‘problem’.
The Independent reports:
Rights groups have worried that the decision could become permanent, allowing for the extension of authorities’ powers into normal life. But the French government said that such powers were necessary.
“This is the fast response of a democracy faced with barbarism. This is the effective legal response in the face of an ideology of chaos,” Prime Minister Emmanuel Valls told parliament.
Valls said the measures were “modern and effective tools to fight the terrorist threat”.
Under the state of emergency, police have the power to conduct searches without getting judicial warrants, though they cannot search the homes and offices of parliamentarians, journalists or lawyers.
The new measures mean anyone suspected of posing a threat to security can be placed under house arrest for 12 hours a day to restrict their movement. Even if the house arrest is lifted, suspects can be prevented from meeting others deemed a threat.
Electronic tagging can also be used to ensure suspects under house arrest who are particularly dangerous remain confined.
The authorities have the power to block Internet sites deemed to incite or advocate “acts of terrorism”, public demonstrations are banned and groups inciting acts that could seriously affect public order can be dissolved.
Rights campaign group Amnesty International said the emergency measures must not become permanent fixtures.
“Time and again we have seen emergency measures extended and codified until they become part and parcel of the ordinary law, chipping steadily away at human rights,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia.
“In the long run, the pernicious ideology underpinning the Paris attacks can only be defeated by upholding the foundational values of the French Republic,” he said in a statement.
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