France’s National Assembly on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of extending a state of emergency in the country for another six months, as politicians spar over how to stop recurrent terrorist attacks.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that a law extending the measures — introduced after the attacks on Paris in November that were linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) — was approved by a margin of 489 to 26 in the lower house, and would be put before the Senate later on Wednesday.
President Francois Hollande had announced a plan to lift the state of emergency — which gives police more powers to carry out searches and put suspects under house arrest — when the country was rocked by an attack in Nice last Thursday that authorities say was an act of terrorism.
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, killed 84 people and injured scores more when he drove a 19-ton truck along a Nice promenade crowded with Bastille Day revelers. The attacker, who was killed in an exchange of fire with law enforcement, had reportedly shown a growing interest in jihadist images, although there is no evidence he was in touch with any organization like ISIS (which has called Bouhlel its “soldier”).
During a debate on Wednesday’s vote, Hollande’s Socialist government came under fire for it’s response to the attacks, with right-wing politicians calling for more police powers to target potential militants and the left raising concerns that civil liberties were being swept aside.