France to seek state of emergency extension for summer sports events

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the government will seek to extend a country-wide state of emergency for two months in order to secure the Euro 2016 football tournament and the Tour de France.

The current state of emergency was instated after terrorist attacks in and around Paris on November 13 left 130 dead, and it has been extended by parliament twice.

Valls, speaking Wednesday on France Info radio, said the government would seek another extension when the current state of emergency ends May 26.

"The state of emergency cannot be a permanent state, but faced with these large events - the Euro 2016 and the Tour de France - we have considered, along with the president and the Interior Ministry, that the state of emergency must be extended," Valls said.

He added that the summer sporting events should be held under high security conditions but "should also be, at the same time, a party, with full stadiums and full fan zones."

Around 1 million foreign visitors are expected to attend the Euro 2016 tournament's 51 games, which will be held in 10 venues across France from June 10 to July 10. Some 2.5 million fans are expected watch the games, and organizers boosted their security budget by 15 per cent after the November attacks.

Valls said the government would discuss the extension at its weekly cabinet meeting Wednesday. Any extension would have to be approved by parliament.

Criticized widely by human rights groups, the state of emergency allows for expanded police powers, including house searches and detentions without a warrant.

The interior minister has said that thousands of administrative searches have been conducted since it was put in place.

Last update: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 13:09
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