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Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 19:33 GMT
France adopts new terror law
French police patrol at airport
French security has already been stepped up
France has agreed emergency anti-terrorism legislation drafted in response to the 11 September attacks in the United States.

The new laws extend police powers to search private property, including cars, and bolster security in public places.

Shopping centres and sports facilities are also set to be protected under the law, as well as airports and harbours.

Collective security is not the enemy of individual freedom

Interior Minister Daniel Vaillant
The measures have been welcomed by most opposition groups, but the two junior members of the socialist-led coalition - the Greens and the Communists - would not support it because of fears it will infringe civil liberties.

Introducing the legislation to parliament, the Interior Minister, Daniel Vaillant, said fighting terrorism boosted freedom, rather than restricting it.

"Collective security is not the enemy of individual freedom," he said.

"The scale of the attacks in the United States and the way they were carried out has made us aware that no one is safe from such terrorist acts.

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden is believed to have planned a terror attack on Paris
"We now speak in terms of before and after September 11."

Under existing laws, cars are currently classed as "private places" in France, and police do not have the right to carry out searches without a warrant.

In 1995, a similar plan, which would have allowed police to search cars parked near street protests, was thrown out by constitutional watchdogs on the grounds that it would have encroached on personal freedom.

The BBC's John Laurenson
"The French police have powers that have always been denied them in the past"
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