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France's parliament passes new anti-terror law

media French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb in the National Assembly Reuters/Benoit Tessier

France's parliament has passed an anti-terrorism law that makes permanent several measures imposed under the state of emergency introduced after the November 2015 Paris attacks.

The two-year-old state of emergency extended what police and security forces could do without seeking a judge’s approval and Wednesday's vote writes some of those measures into law.

Prefects, who represent central government in the regions, are now able to force people to remain close to their homes, authorise searches of properties and close places of worship considered to be crucibles of terrorism, while police can perform identity checks at borders.

Debate about the law, which was promised by President Emmanuel Macron during his election campaign, has centred on the balance between security and respect for civil liberties, with right-wing parties calling for tougher measures and left-wingers saying the proposals go too far.

After the lower house of parliament approved the bill last week, the Senate backed it on Wednesday.

Its provisions are due to take effect after the state of emergency expires on the 1 November after being extended six times.

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