France to extend state of emergency for Euro 2016

France to extend state of emergency for Euro 2016
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Published April 20th, 2016 - 13:44 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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A picture taken on February 26, 2016 in Nice, southeastern France, shows the
A picture taken on February 26, 2016 in Nice, southeastern France, shows the "Allianz Riviera" stadium, a venue of the upcoming Euro-2016 European football championships. VALERY HACHE / AFP

France plans to extend the state of emergency in place since November's attacks on Paris for a further two months to ensure security at the Euro 2016 football tournament, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday.

"Faced with an event this big, which must take place in conditions of security and which at the same time should be a celebration, we have to ensure security," he said on France Info radio. "The state of emergency cannot be permanent, but on the occasion of these big events, we have decided to prolong," he added. 

Euro 2016 starts June 10 and runs for a month. Some 2.5 million spectators are expected at 10 stadiums for 51 matches involving 24 teams at the tournament, which France is hosting. There will also be fan zones in other major cities.

The current state of emergency giving extra powers to police and security forces runs until May 26. Valls said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve would propose the measure to other ministers later on Wednesday. It would then need to be voted in by Parliament. 

Police have had extra powers to search homes, hold suspects and put people under house arrest since the November 13 attacks, in which 130 people were killed. The initial move was popular in France, but human rights groups have expressed concern at two extensions that have taken place since.

The Stade de France national stadium north of the capital, which will host the opening match and the final, was the site of a suicide bombing on the night of the attacks. Other shootings and suicide bombings took place near the city centre at the Bataclan music venue and at cafes.

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