Following a series of attacks that left over 100 people dead in Paris, France on Friday, French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency which closed the country’s borders and gave the government heightened access into the lives of its citizens.
Reuters reported that “about 100 people were killed in the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris” and an additional “40 others have died in other locations,” such as busy restaurants and bars in and around Paris, after they were attacked by gunmen and bombers.
After reports of multiple attacks in Paris surfaced around 4 p.m. eastern, the Associated Press reported at 6:20 p.m. eastern that one of six different attacks across the city left at least 100 people dead, “inside a Paris concert hall where attackers seized hostages,” and that “security forces have ended their assault on a concert hall filled with hostages, killing at least two attackers.”
During an emergency midnight cabinet meeting (6 p.m. eastern), roughly two hours after the attacks were reported, Hollande declared that the country was under a “state of emergency.”
“What the terrorists want is to make us afraid, to seize us with fear,” Hollande said. “There is something to be afraid of, but faced with this fear, there’s a nation which defends itself and mobilizes itself and which will once again be able to overcome the terrorists.”
Hollande called for military to assisted local police, and said that the choice to close France’s borders was “to assure ourselves that no one can enter to commit any act, whatever that may be.”
According to Article 16 of the French Constitution of 1958, when the “integrity of its territory or the fulfilment of its international commitments are under serious and immediate threat, and where the proper functioning of the constitutional public authorities is interrupted,” the French has the power to call for a state of emergency, after consulting with the Prime Minister, the Presidents of the Houses of Parliament and the Constitutional Council.
A state of emergency in France gives the government the power of censorship, as well as the authority to “regulate or forbid circulation and gathering in some areas,” close places of gathering altogether, and “conduct house-to-house searches at any time without judicial oversight.”