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  • Youths raise their hands high to show that they do not hold bottles or stones as they pass French riot police during the May Day march in Paris, France, May 1, 2016.

    Youths raise their hands high to show that they do not hold bottles or stones as they pass French riot police during the May Day march in Paris, France, May 1, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 May 2016

France extended the state of emergency it implemented last November, but the West seems to direct criticism only toward the measures in Venezuela.

As Western governments and major U.S.-backed organizations such as the Organization of American States criticize Venezuela over declaring a state of emergency to deal with drought and food shortages, France extended the country’s state of emergency which has been in place since the November Paris attacks to the end of July.

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The French parliament approved the new extension in order to cover this summer's Euro 2016 football tournament and the Tour de France cycling race. It is the third time the state of emergency has been extended since the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris.

Under a state of emergency the French interior minister has the power to place any person whose behavior is considered "a threat to security and public order" under house arrest, in addition to the power to order searches of homes at any hour without involving the courts.

The news comes hours after an EgyptAir flight leaving Paris to Cairo crashed in the Mediterranean sea near the Egyptian coast in what authorities in Egypt said is most likely a terror attack.

Meanwhile in Venezuela the state of emergency was first declared by President Nicolas Maduro in January as part of economic measures that sought to deal with the severe shortages and drought in the country and was to last for 60 days.

On May 17, Maduro sought to expand on the emergency measures to allow him to gain more powers to deal with the crisis as well as concerns over what he called “plots from within Venezuela and the United States to topple his leftist government.”

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The new measures were presented to the right-wing-led National Assembly, which rejected them and accused the president of wanting to expand his powers at the expense of democracy.

Right-wing opposition leader Henrique Capriles called on people to reject a possible presidential decree to expand the state of emergency. He also suggested that Venezuela's military should rebel against the government of Maduro.

Several Western governments have criticized the Venezuelan government over the emergency measure and accused the president of abusing the powers.

In March, U.S. President Barack Obama renewed an executive order issued last year that declared Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”


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