Paris: France plans to extend a state of emergency declared after the Paris terror attacks to cover the period of the Euro 2016 football tournament and the Tour de France cycle race, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday.
The measure giving the state heightened security powers was imposed following the November 13 jihadist attacks that left 130 dead and hundreds wounded in the French capital, and was already extended by three months in February until May 26.
Valls said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve would make a proposal to the cabinet later Wednesday which would be in turn submitted to parliament for a vote.
"The state of emergency cannot be a permanent state, but for these major events... we need to have these powers, these possibilities, under the control of a judge, under the control of parliament, to allow for the best response in the face of terrorism," Valls said on French radio.
The two events overlap, with the Euro 2016 tournament to be held in France from June 10 to July 10, while the Tour de France is set for July 2-24.
"We will propose to extend (the emergency) for a period of two additional months from the end of May in view of the threat," he said.
The exceptional measure allows the interior minister to place under house arrest any person whose behaviour is considered "a threat to security and public order" and to order searches of homes at any hour without involving the court.
Since it was imposed in November, "more than 3,500 searches have been carried out... resulting in more than 400 arrests," Cazeneuve said on Friday.
But groups including the French Human Rights League (LDH) have voiced opposition to the measure.
"There will always be a good reason to keep" it in place, LDH lawyer Patrice Spinozi said in January.
The authorities have launched a series of exercises to prepare for possible attacks during Euro 2016, which will see matches in several big cities including Bordeaux, Lille and Marseille besides the flagship Stade de France in Paris.
Organisers say some two million visitors are expected during the tournament.
The Tour de France, which attracts millions of spectators along its route, will cover 3,519 kilometres (2,247 miles) this year.