State of emergency to be extended, says Valls

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Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the country’s state of emergency, which was imposed after last year’s November 13 Paris attacks, will likely be extended as the country gears up for presidential elections.

“It is difficult today to end the state of emergency,” Valls told BBC television.

“Especially since we are going to begin a presidential campaign in a few weeks with meetings, with public gatherings. So we must also protect our democracy,” Valls said.

“Besides, this state of emergency device allows us to make arrests and administrative checks which are highly effective… So yes, we are probably going to live a few months more with this state of emergency.”

The state of emergency was introduced on the night of the Paris attacks and extended for six months in late July.

While stressing he remained “very cautious”, Valls said the risk of similar coordinated attacks appeared to have diminished.

“But we may face attacks of the kind that we saw in Nice,” he said, referring to the July attack in the Riviera resort in which a 31-year-old Tunisian mowed down 86 people in a truck.

“That’s to say some individuals who are driven directly by the internet, by social networks, by the Islamic State armed group, without having to go to Syria or Iraq.”