PARIS, AP -France”s Cabinet on Monday approved a bill to extend the country”s state of emergency for three months to crack down on a wave of arson attacks and riots, the government said.
The government declared a 12-day state of emergency Wednesday, empowering regions to impose curfews and conduct house searches. The measures were set to expire next Sunday if not extended.
The bill to prolong the state of emergency must now go before parliament.
"It”s a measure of protection and precaution," President Jacques Chirac said at a Cabinet meeting, quoted by government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope. "It”s a strictly temporary measure that will only be used where it is strictly necessary."
Speaking earlier on Europe-1 radio, Cope said the bill would leave open the possibility of ending the state of emergency if order is restored.
"I think that given all that has just happened, it is important for regional officials to have the means to act during a period that is limited, but long enough to ensure the serious attacks on public order that we have seen in the past days don”t happen again," he said.