French President Emmanuel Macron has formally signed a new counter-terrorism law which gives prefects, police and security forces wide-ranging powers — without the need to seek prior approval from a judge — to search homes, place people under house arrest and close places of worship. The measure also authorizes police to perform identity checks at French borders.
The new law, adopted by the French Senate on October 18, makes permanent many of the previously exceptional measures imposed under a two-year-old state of emergency, which was introduced after the jihadist attacks in Paris in November 2015. That state of emergency was slated to expire on November 1.
During a signing ceremony at the Élysée Palace on October 30, Macron said the compromise measure strikes the right balance between security and respect for civil liberties. Hardliners counter that the new law does not go far enough, while human rights groups complain that it will leave France in a permanent state of emergency.
The new law — Law to Strengthen Internal Security and the Fight Against Terrorism (Loi renforçant la sécurité intérieure et la lutte contre le terrorisme) — consists of seven main parts: