“The state of emergency, it’s true, justifies certain temporary restrictions on liberties,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, pronounced on Thursday, as the National Assembly voted 551 to 6 to extend a national state of emergency for three months. “But resorting to this, it’s to give us every chance to fully restore these liberties.” Bến Tre much? In Belgium, the government shuttered the public transit system, even as it looks to extend police hold on a suspect from 24 to 72 hours. The closer you look at the European reaction, the scarier it looks. Check this [via nytimes.com] . .
The French emergency bill, which the French Senate is approved on Friday, extends the powers of a 1955 emergency law to allow the dissolution of radical groups running mosques and other places of prayer; the blocking of websites and social media that glorify or incite terrorism; and the use, in certain cases, of electronic tagging for those placed under house arrest.
It is the first time since the 1955 law was passed that a national state of emergency has been declared. France is already being patrolled by heavily armed soldiers, and now police officers who are off duty will be allowed to carry firearms and use them if they wear an armband identifying themselves as police.
On Wednesday, the French authorities said they had carried out more than 414 raids across the country, arrested 64 people and placed another 118 under house arrest.
Under the emergency, the authorities are permitted to conduct raids and make arrests without first obtaining a warrant. But as soon as someone is arrested or property is seized, the regular legal system kicks in. Suspects in terrorism cases are already allowed to be held without charge for up to six days.
Americans are tooling-up in response to the most recent terrorist attacks. That’s a personal rather than political reaction. But it also protects citizens from government over-reach. In theory. In practice, what do you think will happen to our civil rights in the aftermath or a Paris-style attack or attacks on American soil?