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French govt to propose extending state of emergency to cover Euro 2016

Remy Gabalda / AFP | Soldiers on patrol in Toulouse, France, on December 31, 2015.
2 min

France plans to extend the state of emergency put in place after the November 2015 militant Islamist attacks on Paris for a further two months to ensure security at the Euro 2016 football tournament, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Wednesday.

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The current state of emergency, already extended by three months in February, is set to expire on May 26. But Valls said the government wants it prolonged in order to cover the high-profile international tournament, taking place in France between June 10 and July 10.

“Faced with an event this big... which must take place in conditions of security and which at the same time should be a celebration.... we have to ensure security,” the prime minister told France Info radio.

“The state of emergency cannot be permanent but on the occasion of these big events... we have decided to prolong [it].”

The decision to extend the state of emergency, which gives extra powers to police and security forces, will need to be approved by the French parliament in order to take effect.

Valls said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve would make a proposal to the cabinet later Wednesday and a text would be sent to parliament to go before a vote.

Euro 2016 is set to be held amid tightened security following the November 13 terror attacks in Paris that left 130 dead, including one person killed by a suicide bomber outside the Stade de France stadium where a football match was being held at the time.

Under a state of emergency the interior minister has the power to place under house arrest any person whose behaviour is considered "a threat to security and public order" and to order searches of homes at any hour without involving the court.

Since it was imposed in November, "more than 3,500 searches have been carried out... resulting in 400 arrests”, Cazeneuve said on Friday.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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