France prepares to extend state of emergency following Manchester attack

French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement that his thoughts were with the victims and their families, and he pledged support for the "government and the British Armed Forces in the fight against terrorism".

"It was a very good, pragmatic and warm meeting", Macron said, adding that the United States remained an essential partner for France.

"The threat is based on the IS incitement of its affiliates living in each country to commit isolated actions and on the infiltration into France or Europe of operational individuals to form terrorist cells", he told reporters.

"The most cowardly form of terrorism has struck once again, targeting - as in Paris more than a year ago - a concert venue", Philippe said in a statement in a reference to a similar attack at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in November 2015.

France has been in a state of emergency, which gives sweeping powers to the police, since November 2015, when at least 130 people were killed in coordinated attacks.

Now about 7,000 troops are supporting police, Philippe said Wednesday, adding that their number could rise to 10,000, with an additional 60,000 reservists standing by.

The announced plan to extend the state of emergency led to a joint letter of opposition from eleven rights and civil groups - including Amnesty International France, Human Rights Watch and a French lawyers' group.

Meanwhile, French unions urged President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday (23 May) not to try to hustle through his labour reform plans this summer, in contrast with calls from the main employers' group for swift measures to reinforce rising business optimism.

But Hollande was unable to get through parliament a measure that would have stripped bi-national terrorists of French nationality in certain cases.

He said the future law will notably concern security measures surrounding big cultural, festive and sporting events.

  • Leroy Wright