France boosts security a head of New Year celebration

France has deployed almost 100,000 security forces across the country for the New Year holiday season as the likelihood of terrorist attacks remains high in the European country.

The French Interior Ministry said in a statement that 97,000 additional security personnel had been mobilized to provide extra protection for citizens on Sunday and Monday at Christmas markets, shopping centers, religious buildings, and tourist sites, media reported on Sunday.

The ministry said extra policing was needed due to “the context of a still-elevated terrorist threat.”

It said security was also beefed up around religious sites during Hanukkah earlier this month, and for Orthodox Christmas in January, “to allow the celebration of these festivities in good conditions.”

A new anti-terrorism law championed by President Emmanuel Macron’s government enshrines extra police powers.

The controversial law, signed by Macron last month, has lifted a two-year state of emergency that was imposed following multiple terrorist attacks that killed more than 200 people in 2015-2016.

But police have been given broad powers — similar to those under an emergency state — to carry out raids nationwide and to detain and interrogate terror suspects without a warrant or due judicial oversight.

Police and security services can also close down places of worship suspected of fostering radicalism and conduct on-the-spot identity checks at border areas, ports, train stations, and airports.

The boost in security measures has given rise to concerns among human rights groups over possible infringements of civil liberties.

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