ARRAS: France said on Monday it would speed up the expulsion of radicalised foreigners and beef up a draft immigration law as the government faces stiff criticism from the right after Friday’s fatal stabbing of a teacher.
The attack, in which 20-year-old Mohamed M, who was monitored by police as a possible security risk, killed teacher Dominique Bernard, prompted the government to put the country on its highest security alert and deploy thousands of troops.
President Emmanuel Macron has condemned the attack.
Schools across France on
Monday observed a minute of silence for Bernard and for history teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded three years ago by a Chechen teenager.
“With my government, we’re doing everything to protect (pupils)… the Republic will never give in to terror,” Borne said ahead of the minute of silence at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine,where Paty was killed.
Authorities comb through lists of people posing ‘security risks’
Following a government security meeting, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said authorities would comb through lists of people posing security risks and expel those who could be sent out of France, pulling residency permits or asylum protection from those who benefit from either but are seen as a risk.
Darmanin alleged that Friday’s attack had come as a “jihadist atmosphere” developed after a Hamas raid on Israel.
He added that a draft new security law, being reviewed by parliament, would have allowed authorities to expel Friday’s attacker a year ago, when he had been suspected of beating up his mother, but that the current legislation did not allow it. And the government would look at further strengthening the legislation, he said.
Far-right figure Eric Zemmour added his voice to the criticism of the government, saying immigration, and Macron’s policies, were to blame for the attacks on Paty and Bernard. “I’ve had more than enough with the powerlessness of the political power,” Zemmour said.
Earlier on Monday, the Gambetta high school in Arras, northern France, where Bernard was fatally stabbed, was briefly evacuated following a bomb alert.
“We’re going to be afraid all the time, that’s it. She will leave to go to school and we don’t know…,” said Natalie, the mother of a pupil at the school.
Up to 7,000 soldiers are being deployed on increased security patrols in major city centres and at tourist sites, the government said at the weekend. The security alert comes as France hosts the Rugby World Cup.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2023