|RT | Jul 19, 2017|
The ‘Bill strengthening internal security and combating terrorism’ was backed by 229 votes to 106 in the Senate, the upper house of the French Parliament, on Tuesday evening.
The lower house, the French National Assembly, is to debate the proposed legislation in October. It will then have to be signed into law by President Emmanuel Macron, who initially introduced it to parliament. He has vowed to enact tougher anti-terrorist and security laws at the start of his term.
#PJLSécurité : renforcer notre sécurité intérieure et lutter contre le terrorisme tout en préservant nos libertés.— Gérard Collomb (@gerardcollomb) July 18, 2017
Police and administrative authorities are given more powers under the state of emergency. Under the new bill, some measures within the state of emergency may become permanent.
The bill says that prefects (the state's representatives in a department or region) will receive special powers to secure any major cultural, sport or entertainment event. For instance they will be allowed to set up perimeter protection at the event.
It envisions extra surveillance measures against those suspected of terrorist activity, as well as stronger border control.
Le comité BDS France-Paris participe en ce moment à une marche contre le projet de loi qui instaure l'#etatdurgence permanent. pic.twitter.com/xV5VO9tGgr— BDS France (@Campagnebds) July 18, 2017
“State of emergency, police state! We will not lose our liberties,” the demonstrators chanted.
."#etatdurgence, Etat policier! Et nous ne lâcherons rien de nos libertés" #paris#18juilletpic.twitter.com/u05Lv3otQe— JeF Pellissier (@JFPellissier) July 18, 2017
“Instead of truly ending France’s 19-month temporary state of emergency, the government is making some of its far-reaching powers permanent, but with little effective court oversight,” said Kartik Raj, Western Europe researcher at HRW.
According to the group, the legislation may replace the system of “assigned residence orders” in the current state of emergency with “individualized surveillance measures.”
“What would happen, Mr. President, if France were hit by another terrorist attack in the coming months? Would you propose yet another bill?” France Director of HRW Bénédicte Jeannerod said earlier in July.
In May this year, Amnesty International said that emergency laws have not been used to protect civilians since the 2015 Paris attacks, but to restrict their human rights.
According to the report, between November 2015 and May 2017, police used emergency powers to “issue 155 decrees prohibiting public assemblies, in addition to banning dozens of protests using ordinary French law.”