The French Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a controversial national security bill that significantly expands the state’s power to fight terrorism, although critics say it poses a historic threat to civil liberties.
At the behest of President Emmanuel Macron, the new legislation will extend police powers in an attempt to stop a wave of terrorist violence that has claimed 239 lives in France since 2015. As recently as Sunday, a man — who the Islamic State later claimed was a “soldier” of the group — fatally stabbed two women at a train station in Marseille. On Monday, police arrested five people in connection with a homemade bomb in a Paris apartment building.
Since the day after terrorist attacks killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015, France has been under an official “state of emergency,” a temporary regime of heightened security measures that have given local police and administrative authorities heightened powers to arrest and detain suspects without judicial oversight. The anti-terrorism laws approved Tuesday will make many of these special provisions permanent.
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