French lawmakers approved a six-month rollover of emergency rule on Wednesday after last week’s truck attack on holiday crowds in Nice, the third deadly assault in just 18 months for which Islamist militants have claimed responsibility.
President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government, accused by political opponents of doing too little to prevent the attack that killed 84 and injured hundreds, also vowed to step up strikes against Islamic State in its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
A year from elections, Hollande is under intense pressure as opponents accuse his administration of police failings over the tragedy. A Tunisian man was able to drive a 19-tonne truck along a packed sea-front promenade, mowing down people in the Bastille Day crowd, before he was shot dead by police.
The extension of exceptional search-and-arrest powers for police was approved by 489 votes to 26 shortly before dawn in France’s National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, but not without renewed calls for an inquest.
Christian Estrosi, regional government head in the greater Nice area, said policing was lighter than Prime Minister Manuel Valls claimed, and that concrete blocks were not deployed to seal roads off during the national holiday festivities of July 14.