France to de­ploy ex­tra po­lice, troops for fes­tive events

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

France will put more po­lice and soldiers on the streets to de­ter would-be mil­i­tant at­tack­ers from strik­ing dur­ing Christ­mas and New Year festivities, In­te­rior Min­is­ter Bruno Le Roux said yes­ter­day.

The newly ap­pointed min­is­ter was speak­ing af­ter par­lia­ment voted overnight to ex­tend a state of emer­gency im­posed af­ter Is­lamists killed 130 peo­ple in Paris in mul­ti­ple attacks just over a year ago. “The threat is se­ri­ous,” said Le Roux, who has the power to de­ploy around 3,000 ex­tra po­lice and soldiers dur­ing the year-end hol­i­day sea­son, a peak time for party events and at air­ports and rail­way sta­tions. “I want tourists to come to the coun­try in large num­bers and I want our fel­low cit­i­zens to be able to go out and have fun,” he told RTL ra­dio.

More than 230 peo­ple have been killed in mil­i­tant attacks in France over the past two years, in­clud­ing 86 dur­ing this year’s July 14 na­tional hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions in the Riviera re­sort of Nice.

France re­mains on high alert for more, es­pe­cially by fol­low­ers of Is­lamic State, whose bases in Syria and Iraq are be­ing bombed by French jets. The ji­hadist group has called on fol­low­ers to carry out attacks on French soil.

Since last year’s Paris attacks up to 10,000 po­lice and soldiers have at times been de­ployed to pro­tect sen­si­tive sites such as syn­a­gogues, air­ports and sta­tions. The to­tal has been pared back to around 7,000 since the end of the Euro­pean soc­cer cham­pi­onship in July.

Be­yond the hu­man toll, tourist ar­rivals in France be­tween July and Septem­ber fell 10.6 per­cent from last year, and 18 per­cent in Paris. In Novem­ber, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced spend­ing of 15 mil­lion eu­ros ($15.9 mil­lion) on cam­eras and other se­cu­rity mea­sures in key tourist zones.

Le Roux, ap­pointed last week when his pre­de­ces­sor Bernard Cazeneuve was made prime min­is­ter, said 16 po­ten­tial attacks had been foiled this year thanks to ex­tra search and ar­rest pow­ers granted to po­lice un­der emer­gency rule.

Law­mak­ers on Tues­day night ex­tended that state of emer­gency to July 2017, cov­er­ing cam­paign­ing and bal­lot­ing in a tworound presidential elec­tion in which the runoff is sched­uled for May. — Reuters

PARIS: French pres­i­dent Francois Hol­lande (C) is pic­tured fol­lowed by French Min­is­ter for Ecol­ogy, Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment and En­ergy Se­go­lene Royal af­ter the weekly cabi­net meet­ing yes­ter­day. — AFP

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