France considers lifting state of emergency
PARISFrance is talking about eventually lifting the national state of emergency that has been in force since the November 2015 Paris terror attacks.
French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said during a speech on March 15 that the country had “created the conditions that make it possible to exit the state of emergency, without weakening ourselves or remaining helpless in the face of the threat of terrorism,” The Associated Press reported.
Urvoas did not give a date or time frame for ending the emergency.
Parliament has extended the state of emergency several times, the last time for a 6-month period to cover the spring presidential and legislative elections. The extension ends July 15.
Critics say the exceptional legislation has harmed individual freedoms.
The Nov. 13, 2015 attacks, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), left 130 dead.
Meanwhile, a heavily armed pupil injured his head teacher and two other people during a shooting at a French high school on March 16, rattling nerves in a country repeatedly the target of jihadist attacks, police and officials said.
The 17-year-old pupil was arrested afterwards in possession of a rifle, two handguns and two grenades after the attack at the Tocqueville high school in the sleepy hillside town of Grasse in southern France, police told AFP.
The head of the regional government, Christian Estrosi, told AFP that the shooting was “not at all” being seen as a terror attack at this stage, adding that the principal and two other pupils were lightly injured.
There was conflicting information about whether a second suspect was on the run, with police initially saying they were looking for an accomplice. Another police source said the shooter acted alone.
“It was like being in a movie. We’re not used to it, we hear about these things in Paris but not here. I was totally panicked,” one pupil at the school, identified as Andreas, told BFM television.
The shooting comes about 40 days before a two-stage presidential election in April and May in which security is one of the main issues on voters’ minds.
The motive for the attack was still unknown.