What France's 'state of emergency' really means

French President Francois Hollande meets with Prime Minister Manuel Valls after the Paris Attacks. Thierry Chesnot

Following the deaths of at least 129 people in six attacks across France, French President Francois Hollande has declared a state of emergency.

A state of emergency can last up to 12 days, and gives police and governments certain powers. Local governments can enact curfews, the police can search houses without a warrant, and public places can be closed and protests forbidden. In extreme circumstances, the law gives the government the power to “control” the press.

Few of these powers have so far been rolled out. Although the borders have been closed, public gatherings have been banned in Paris until the 19th of November and the army has been dispersed through the city.

This is only the second state of emergency that has been declared in France since 1962. The other time was in November 2005, when rioting broke out across France following the deaths of two teenagers.

The power to enact a state of emergency itself comes from a period beset by riots – from 1954 to 1962, the time of the Algerian war.

During this period the law was enacted during a series of coup attempts. A state of emergency was also declared in 1961 to impose a curfew on peaceful Muslim protests – which led to a massacre of the protestors by French police.

You can read more at Vox.com.

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