The French government have announced plans to extend the state of emergency currently implemented across France, meaning the country faces remaining in a state of martial law for the foreseeable future.
Following the Paris terror attacks last year, a temporary state of emergency was declared that allowed authorities new police-state powers, putting the nation on virtual lockdown.
The new powers include allowing authorities to detain people without trial, search homes without a warrant, and block websites that authorities believe to be a problem. Now, those police-state powers could remain indefinitely.
Human rights groups have denounced the state of emergency and claim that abuses are taking place under the new powers. In one house raid it is claimed that police broke four of a disabled man’s teeth before they realized that he wasn’t the person that they were looking for.
French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, says that the emergency powers don’t signify an approval to abandon the rule of law and he has issued a directive to local authorities to warn them against committing any abuses.
In the past few months since the attacks took place, law enforcement officials in France have conducted over 3,200 raids and they have placed hundreds of people under house arrest. But the counter-terrorism unit itself is said to have only opened five terrorism-related investigations.
The government is seeking to extend these powers for another three months. Critics say that the state has yet to provide any compelling evidence that justifies the need for these emergency measures to be extended. The state of emergency has already been extended once before and it had been scheduled to end on Feb. 26 of this year.
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