French Prime Minister Manuel Valls confirmed that close to 2,000 police raids have been carried out during the nation’s state of emergency, resulting in 210 people being taken into custody and 276 others being placed under house arrest. A further 1,000 people have been prohibited from entering French territory, Valls told lawmakers.
France’s state of emergency includes the possibility of 24-hour police raids conducted without a warrant or any other kind of judicial control. Police have also been granted the ability to seize all information found on computers, as well as other technological devices and equipment.
“For the intelligence services, it's an open bar,” Adrienne Charmet of the online rights group Quadrature du Net told Terra eco.
“Police raid, instruction manual in five seconds”
The state of emergency also enables authorities to detain or place people under house arrest whose “behavior can seriously be considered a threat to security and public order.”
Human rights organizations have pointed to the fact that authorities are also targeting members of social movements that have absolutely no link to jidhadist groups.
Last weekend for example, 26 environmental activists were placed under house arrest until the end of the COP21 climate change summit, which began in the French capítal on Monday. Human rights groups, including the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme, condemned the move, saying the Ministry of Interior was “losing its nerves” by “conflating the social movement with terrorism.” The organization has also condemned the state of emergency for intimidating “democratic mobilizations” by restricting the right to demonstrate peacefully.
Almost 300 people were arrested Sunday at a peaceful demonstration in the capital, with around half of those arrested spending 24 hours in police custody.
Many of those arrested resorted to administrative courts in order to challenge the measures, considering them a “serious violation” of their fundamental human rights. However, a judge in the city of Rennes rejected the demands of five of the 26 environmental activists put under house arrest during the COP21. The court’s ruling did not provide any other justification than those provided by the Interior Ministry.