France's state of emergency may last months

November 17, 2015, 4:41am


French President Francois Hollande arrives to deliver a speech at the Versailles castle, west of Paris. Photo: AP  

By Al Jazeera, News24

Paris - French President Francois Hollande will present a bill to extend the state of emergency in France, as well as propose severe amendments to the constitution in light of last week's wave of attacks in Paris that killed at least 132 people.

The French leader said on Monday, in an exceptional joint gathering of parliament, that he would make the proposals on Wednesday and parliamentarians would vote on them before the end of the week.

Friday's "acts of war... were decided and planned in Syria, prepared and organised in Belgium [and] perpetrated on our soil with French complicity", he said, speaking in Versailles, south of Paris.

"I have asked the prime minister to prepare constitutional amendments," he added.

Those amendments include exceptional measures such as stripping the nationality of those who threaten France's safety, increased surveillance, and "more sophisticated methods" to curb weapons trafficking.

"We should be able to expel, more quickly, foreigners who threaten the safety of our nations," Hollande said. "We must change our constitution to act against terrorism."

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from Paris, said: "The new constraints in effect limit civil liberties in France, but Hollande is trying to persuade French people that these are essential if he is to be able to protect the nation against the kind of attacks we saw last Friday."

Six co-ordinated attacks in the French capital late Friday night, including at a concert venue and a sports stadium, were claimed by Islamic State. (ISIS).

The proposed amendments will be raised because France is in a "state of seige", Hollande said, and could transfer some powers from civilian authorities to military authorities.

Hollande also called for more effective controls of the European Union's external borders to avoid a return to national border controls and the dismantling of the bloc.

He added that a single, large coalition was needed to fight in Syria and that he would meet US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming days to discuss the issue, explaining that France was "talking to everyone" including Iran and Turkey.

The UN Security Council, he urged, should meet and adopt a resolution against ISIS.

The resolution should express the determination of the international community to fight against terrorism and "should not be to contain, but to destroy" ISIS.