France Extends State of Emergency to Combat Terrorism

May 11, 2016Franceby EW News Desk Team

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In a 309-30 vote, the French parliament extended a state of emergency allowing police to detain people in their homes, among other measures, according to AFP. The latest version of the emergency declaration restricts police raids on homes, but the overall plan violates civil liberties and human rights. The state of emergency will extend until May 26.

The extension is in reaction to the coming Euro 2016, where foreigners and citizens alike will flock to watch the games. The government is trying to ensure a safe atmosphere for the public, but the additional emphasis on security has come at a cost.

François Hollande, the president of France, has faced heavy criticism from activists and human rights groups, such as French Human Rights League, for the government’s overly aggressive police tactics. The president has also lobbied parliament to expand executive powers, and the nation is slowly entering the realm of a police state.

Moreover, French citizens face jail time for supposedly espousing terrorist support online, as evident in the case of a French comedian who made a slight joke about the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Hollande is aiming to enhance his counter-terrorism credibility, especially as 2017 elections draw near, but his tough-on-terrorism policies eventually do more harm than good in a nation that champions free speech and personal liberty. With that, the French state is also projecting strength and security to enhance the economy.

Terrorist incidents in France have alarmed world markets, while inflicting damage on certain sectors of the economy, but Euro 2016 will provide a needed economic boost. The French economy continues to stagnate, with unemployment remaining at high levels, and Hollande’s policies have largely failed. The president has vowed not to seek reelection in 2017 if he fails to lower the unemployment rate.

According to polling, Hollande is considered the most unpopular president in French history, notes The Guardian. Further, his unpopularity may increase if emergency declarations stretch beyond May, and it appears that such policies are the new norm in France.

Many leftist parliamentarians disapprove of his authoritarian style of governance, including his own right-leaning Economy Minister, and young people have especially lost faith in the socialist leader, staging mass protests across the country.

While terrorism and security could bolster Hollande's chances of winning another term, he cannot escape public disapproval of his tenure, including disjointed policies that have failed to invigorate growth. The president has yet to extend emergency powers over the economy.

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