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France authorizes emergency powers to cope with riots

[JURIST] France's Interior Ministry [official website, in French] announced Tuesday that the government has authorized local officials to use emergency powers [press release] to help deal with riots that have broken out across the country [JURIST report] over the past 12 days, mostly instigated by disaffected Muslim immigrant youths. The emergency powers, which enable authorities to impose curfews and carry out raids without warrants, stem from a 1955 law [amended text; original 1955 version - page 1 and page 2, PDFs] which has never been implemented in France itself, but has been used in French colonial conflicts in Algeria and New Caledonia. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [BBC profile] declined to bring in the army as violence raged outside of Paris again Monday night, but has imposed curfews and deployed an additional 1,500 police officers [JURIST report] to aid the nearly 8,000 already dealing with the unrest. BBC News has more. Le Monde has local coverage (in French).

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