PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron’s government on Thursday proposed a significant expansion of authorities’ powers to fight terrorism, alarming civil liberties advocates even as defenders said the plans would help keep French citizens safe.
The draft law was introduced after a series of attempted terrorist strikes in Paris and Brussels in recent weeks and several bloody attacks in Britain that were claimed by Islamic State-inspired militants. Those have prompted European leaders to search urgently for new strategies to combat terrorism.
Before Macron’s election last month, the politician said he would seek new approaches to fight terrorism. But he also cast himself as a friend of the Muslim world, raising expectations he would try to build bridges with France’s often-marginalized Muslim community.
His far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, sought to paint him as weak on Islamist violence.
The changes proposed Thursday seek to wind down a state of emergency that gave French security officials broad powers and was imposed after the November 2015 Paris attacks, which claimed 130 lives. Some of those powers would be made permanent, including the ability to temporarily shutter places of worship that promote extremism and conduct searches with fewer restrictions.
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Featured image courtesy of AFP