PARIS (Web Desk) – Thousands of people marched in 70 French cities, including capital Paris, to demand immediate action to stop France’s ongoing state of emergency and openly voice outrage over government plans to revoke the French citizenship of dual nationals, many of them Muslims, convicted of terrorism.
Up to 20,000 protesters – many of them members of human rights groups, political parties and trade unions – took part in a peaceful protest in Paris on Saturday, Russia Today reported.
According to police estimates, some 5,500 people gathered in the heart of the French capital, between Place de la République and the Palais-Royal, holding banners that read: “State of emergency, police state” and “My France of liberties, where are you?”
“I am here to protest against the state of emergency and against the deprivation of nationality for dual nationals. That’s important because we saw a lot of drifts during the state of emergency, some rallies were prohibited, some people were arrested just for protesting peacefully. That shocks me,” one activist said.
“The state is allowing itself to take absolutely catastrophic decisions for the life and future of liberty of France,” Youssef Boussoumah, member of the Indigenes de la Republique party, said.
One woman at the Paris rally, referring to the terrorist group “Islamic State”, said: “The state of emergency is until when? The end of Daesh? 10 years? Never?”
The state of emergency was meant to be used “in the worst moments of our history,” another protester, Adrien, and his girlfriend, Valentine, told the French daily, adding that this makes it an additional reason to protest against the measure’s renewal.
Up to 3,000 people took part in a similar protest in Bordeaux, the organizers said; 1,800 in Toulouse (1,300 according to police); 1,000 in Nantes (800 according to police). Demonstrations also reportedly occurred in Strasbourg, Auxerre, Bayonne, Metz, Nancy, Nice, Nimes, Montpellier, Limoges, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne and Montauban.
According to a latest poll for Atlantico, as many as 79 percent of French people support the prolongation of the state of emergency for three more months.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet plans to review a measure to prolong the state of emergency, imposed in France after the November 13 Paris attacks in which Islamic State militants killed 130 people and injured 350 more. Last week, a French high court upheld the measure, saying the danger is “still there.”
The state of emergency gives more power to police and administrative authorities, allowing house arrest and searches without warrants, along with other measures. The current state of emergency runs until February 26.
Opponents of another controversial plan – to revoke citizenship for dual nationals convicted of terrorism – said the move would only boost racism. “It’s a racist measure which tells us that some [people] are more French that others,” one protester told RT.
Many dual nationals are Muslims, who say they have been recently made the scapegoats for IS attacks.