In light of the Bastille Day massacre in Nice, the French national assembly has voted to extend the national state of emergency for a further six months.
A state of emergency was already in place since the Paris attacks last November, and this extended period will see the emergency security measures in place till January 2017. The French police shall have added powers to carry out searches and to place suspects under house arrest.
France President Francois Hollande had announced last Thursday about his plan to raise the emergency measures, but he changed his stance only hours later after a Tunisian-French truck driver drove through a crowd at a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice, eventually killing 84 people, most of them children. The Islamic State Group later claimed responsibility for this attack.
This is the fourth time the parliament has proposed prolonging the state of emergency, and all that remains is for the Senate to approve of the move.
Hollande’s Socialist government has been intensely criticized for its response to a series of extremist attacks.
The fact that the president was accepting to the six-month extension of the emergency was seen as an acknowledgment to the conservative opposition who have claimed that the state of emergency be extended through to the end of the year.
With the elections due next year, the political unity observed after last year’s assassination of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has faded away.
However, while some on the right think the six-month extension is still short, there are also critics on the left worried about civil liberties who argue that an attack occurred even with the state of emergency in place.