Paris attacks: France state of emergency to be extended – PM Valls

A commemorative plaque unveiled by French President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is seen next to the "A La Bonne Biere" cafe and the Rue de la Fontaine au Roi street, in Paris, France, November 13, 2016Image copyright

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A plaque commemorating the viticms of the Paris attacks outside “A La Bonne Biere” cafe

France’s state of emergency imposed after last year’s terror attacks in Paris is likely to be extended, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has told the BBC.

He said the measures were needed to “protect our democracy”.

Mr Valls was speaking on the first anniversary of the attacks by Islamist militants, in which 130 people died.

President Francois Hollande marked the first anniversary of the Paris attacks by unveiling plaques commemorating the victims.

Starting with the Stade de France and ending with the Bataclan concert hall, Mr Hollande and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo visited the six sites targeted in the attacks, paying tribute to the victims.

Mr Hollande did not speak at the sites, saying he wanted the day to focus on remembering the victims rather than on politics.

Names of the victims have been read out at each site.

At the Stade de France, the son of victim Manuel Dias, the single person killed there, spoke on behalf of his Portuguese-born father, saying his father was “proof that integration is possible ”.

“Long live tolerance, long live intelligence, long live France,” he said.

At the Bataclan concert hall, the crowd joined Mr Holland and Ms Hidalgo in releasing balloons in remembrance of those killed.

On Saturday – the eve of the anniversary of the massacre – the Bataclan reopened with a performance by British artist Sting.

The singer told the audience, including survivors of the attack, that they had to honour the dead and celebrate life.

A minute’s silence was held at the renovated venue for those killed in the attacks on the French capital by jihadists from so-called Islamic State.

On 13 November 2015, a group of jihadists launched co-ordinated attacks on the Stade de France and restaurants filled with people on a Friday evening.

The Bataclan concert hall was the scene of the deadliest attack. Three gunmen entered the venue and fired on the crowd, killing 90 people.

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People released balloons in front of the city hall of the 11th arrondissement

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French President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo

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The plaque at the Stade de France remembers Manuel Dias who died outside the national stadium where France were playing Germany in a football match

Media captionBataclan reopens with Sting concert

On Saturday, in an interview with the BBC’s Hardtalk programme, Mr Valls said the state of emergency would be extended because there was a risk of “attacks of the kind we saw in Nice”.

France’s state of emergency was extended for six months in July after a lorry driver ploughed through a crowd, killing 84 people in Nice on Bastille Day.

The measures give the police extra powers to carry out searches and to place people under house arrest.

However an official inquiry found that the state of emergency was only having a “limited impact” on improving security.

Media captionFrance’s Valls ‘permanently marked’ by Paris attacks

2017 elections

Mr Valls said the country must remain safe during the presidential and parliamentary election campaigns which are scheduled to take place in France between April and June next year.

French pollsters have warned next year’s elections could shake-up the currently fragmented political system.

Mr Hollande, who has yet to announce if he is standing, is the most unpopular president in French history. Polls show a leftist candidate has little chance of winning next year.

Pollsters also predict far-right leader Marine Le Pen will emerge as one of the top two candidates in the first of a two round election process.

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President of the French far-right party Marine Le Pen

Ms Le Pen had told BBC’s Hardtalk last month that France’s current government is weak, saying Mr Valls and Mr Hollande had failed to address the issue of immigration which in her view was directly tied to national security.

Mr Valls dismissed Ms Le Pen’s rhetoric, calling her discourse “traditional of the far right.”

“When a country is attacked it is understandable that people ask questions. But my responsibility is not to follow option polls. We passed two anti-terrorism laws. The far-right voted against them,” Mr Valls said.

Although Ms Le Pen is thought to have little chance of winning the election, she has told the BBC in an interview being aired on Sunday that Donald Trump’s victory in the US has boosted her own chances of winning.

French far-right leader hails Trump win

You can see Mr Valls’ interview in full on Sunday 13 November and Monday 14 November on BBC World News and the BBC News Channel and after on BBCiPlayer.

Paris attacks: France state of emergency to be extended – PM Valls

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