Controversial anti-terror legislation was signed by French President Emmanuel Macron on October 30. The new law ends the two-year state of emergency enacted after the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
The new measures also give security services permanent authority to shut places of worship deemed to be fostering extremism, confine the movements of terrorism suspects and search their homes without necessarily seeking the approval of a court first.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, police are also allowed to demand identity documents from anyone they deem suspicious at border areas, ports, train stations and airports.
“This law will allow us to end the state of emergency from November 1 while fully ensuring the security of our citizens,” Macron said as he signed the document, which was approved by a parliamentary majority earlier this month.
Critics, however, argue the new law will be used to persecute minorities, particularly Muslims, with impunity.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, however, defended the new legislation. He said: “Everyone noticed we needed a fair balance between security and freedom, and I believe this text meets this need”.
According to a poll by Le Figaro newspaper, 57% of the French public backs the measures, although 62% agreed that it was a restriction of basic freedoms.