PARIS – France’s government is calling for a two-month extension of the state of emergency that was declared after the deadly Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, the country’s prime minister said Wednesday. The move, which will require parliament’s approval, is intended to cover the European Championship soccer tournament and the Tour de France.
Terrorist network behind Paris-Brussels attacks a ‘supercell’ of extremism
Paris shooting: Defying terrorism, uniting together a global ‘turning point’
France approves new anti-terrorism measures after shooting rampage
Prime Minister Manuel Valls told France Info radio that the extension of the state of emergency until the end of July will “allow a better response against the terrorist threat” during the June 10-July 10 Euro 2016 tournament.
Following attacks in Brussels last month, concerns have been raised that the tournament could be targeted, especially the fan zones where spectators gather to watch games on large screens. Up to 8 million fans are expected to visit the open-air areas, according to French authorities. Tournament organizers have increased the budget for security by 15 per cent.
“We must ensure full security” so that the Euro 2016 can “be at the same time a celebration with full stadiums and full fan zones”, Valls said.
Valls said the state of emergency will also cover the July 2-July 24 Tour de France cycling race.
The state of emergency, which has already been extended twice, was scheduled to end on May 26. It expands police powers to carry out arrests and searches and allows authorities to impose restrictions on the movement of people or vehicles.
Meanwhile on Wednesday a Belgian official said that Osama Krayem, a suspect in the Brussels attacks, has also been charged with terrorist offences in relation to the attacks in Paris.
Krayem is already suspected of being the accomplice of the attack on the Brussels subway, one of two deadly bombings that hit the city on March 22. Belgian Federal Prosecution Office spokesman Thierry Werts said that Krayem, a 23-year-old Swedish national, has been charged with “participation in terrorism” and “terrorist murders.”