France National Assembly votes to extend state of emergency

Paris, France Updated: Jul 20, 2016, 04:41 AM(IST)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that the country must be prepared for more deadly attacks and will have to 'learn to live with the threat'. Photograph:( Getty )

France's National Assembly voted in the early hours of Wednesday to extend the country's state of emergency for six months following last week's massacre in Nice.

Prime Minister warns there will be more attacks

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that the country must be prepared for more deadly attacks and will have to "learn to live with the threat".

His warning came after President Francois Hollande said he was willing to extend France's state of emergency for another six months following the Bastille Day massacre in Nice in which 84 people were killed.

"Even if these words are hard to say, it's my duty to do so: There will be other attacks and there will be other innocent people killed," Valls told French lawmakers yesterday.

"We must not become accustomed to, but learn to live with, this threat," the prime minister added.

Valls also said suspected islamist Reda Kriket, arrested near Paris in March with an arsenal of weapons, had "definitely" been planning to target the Euro 2016 football tournament in France, which wrapped up without an attack just over a week ago.

Hollande had only last Thursday announced a planned lifting of the emergency security measures,which give the police extra powers to carry out searches and place people under house arrest,originally imposed after the Paris attacks that killed 130 people last November.

The Paris prosecutor's office said yesterday that all the victims of the Nice massacre had finally been identified.

Around 30 were Muslims, said an official from a regional representative body, and almost half were foreigners.

Five days after the attack, 70 people remain hospitalised, 19 in critical condition.

The remains of three Tunisians, including a four-year-old boy, killed in Nice were flown home yesterday.

Hollande, speaking during a visit to Portugal on yesterday, urged the whole of Europe to make defence an absolute priority.

"We are up against challenges and that of terrorism is without doubt one of the largest ones," the French leader said.

With elections due next year, the political unity seen after the January 2015 attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has evaporated.
Valls was booed and heckled on Monday at a remembrance ceremony in Nice.

But the Socialists have said they will draw the line at some of the opposition's more controversial demands.

Republicans leader and former president Nicolas Sarkozy, eyeing another run for the top job next year, has called for anyone showing signs of being radicalised to be forced to wear an electronic tag, placed under house arrest or kept in a detention centre.

Polls since the attack in the Riviera coast city of Nice suggest confidence in Hollande's ability to fight terrorism has plunged after the third major attack in 18 months.

'Populism lurks to seize every occasion'

Manuel Valls warned against "divisions" caused by populism in his address at the National Assembly.

France's  government, smarting from accusations that it did not do enough to prevent last week's deadly truck attack in Nice, urged lawmakers to unite on the rule that gives police greater search-and-arrest powers.

"We must raise the debate, escape demagogy, because populism lurks, ready to seize every occasion, to float on the breeze of discord, hasten divisions, while each new division makes us a little more vulnerable," he said, adding that those who said "we can fix everything with the wave of a magic wand" were "lying" to the French people.

During Tuesday's debate, Valls said "never has the hand of the President of the Republic (Francois Hollande) trembled when he had to make essential decisions for the country."

The debate came as Nice's seafront boulevard, the Promenade des Anglais, reopened after Thursday's  attack.

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