France’s state of emergency comes to an end on Nov. 1, almost two years after the 2015 Paris terror attacks, replaced on the same day by a new anti-terrorism law, which critics say undermines civil liberties.
French President Emmanuel Macron defended the new security legislation on Oct. 31, saying Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants still posed a serious threat to the country.
The law gives the police greater powers to search properties, conduct electronic eavesdropping and shut down mosques suspected of preaching hatred than they had prior to the state of emergency.
Speaking to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, eastern France, Macron said “jihadist terrorism” remained the biggest security threat to France, Reuters has reported.
“Terrorism targets European society and values just as it targets government and state. We are being attacked because of what we stand for,” said Macron, who took office in May.
More than 240 people have been killed on French soil in ISIL-inspired attacks in almost three years. Dozens more have been killed in similar attacks elsewhere in Europe, primarily in Britain and Belgium.
The government says the state of emergency has helped intelligence agencies to thwart more than 30 attacks. Many of those emergency powers will now be enshrined in law, drawing criticism from human rights groups.
“France has become so addicted to the state of emergency that it is now injecting several of these abusive measures into ordinary law,” Human Rights Watch said before parliament backed the legislation.