France Deploys 97,000 Security Personnel To Keep Christmas Safe

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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France has deployed 97,000 police and soldiers to protect people from potential terror attacks during Christmas.

The country’s interior ministry said the measure comes in “the context of a still-elevated terrorist threat.” Personnel will primarily focus on Christmas markets, shopping centers, religious buildings and popular tourist sites.

Similar measures were taken during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah earlier in December and for Orthodox Christmas in January.

France recently called off a two-year state of emergency after string of attacks across the nation.

Authorities claim 32 terror attacks were foiled during the state of emergency, with 13 of them being planned in 2017. Terrorists killed more than 100 hundred people in a variety of attacks during the same period.

New anti-terror laws took effect Nov. 1. Lawyers and activists have warned that the legislation essentially makes all the state of emergency measures permanent.

It turns warrantless property searches and house arrests into common police practice. Banning protest marches, shutting down places of worship suspected of sharing extremist views and electronic tagging for surveillance purposes are other powers granted to police.

Over the past two years, more than 4,600 warrantless raids have taken place and 19 Islamic centers have been shut down. Some 18,550 people are currently registered by authorities as potential radicals, up from 11,400 in 2015, according to a report released in August.


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