‘It is a horror’: France responds to Paris attacks

French President Francois Hollande put in place France’s first state of emergency in a decade — and its first curfew in far longer than that — in the wake of a string of deadly attacks that left more than 100 people dead.

“It is a horror,” Hollande said in an address Friday evening, not long after he himself had been evacuated from a soccer game at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, just north of Paris.

IN DEPTH: Paris attacks

Read Hollande’s full statement.

Hollande declared a state of emergency and said he’s closing the borders. His office later said he won’t attend the G20 summit in Turkey, which begins this weekend.

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He and his cabinet met around midnight Friday and will meet again Saturday morning.

The state of emergency is a provision put in France’s constitution in the 1950s. But it hasn’t been used much since then.

The last time it was used was in 2005, in response to violent riots and tire fires in Paris’s banlieu — resulting from an unrest many saw as springing from a sense of disenchantment at the entrenched inequity many poorer non-white French citizens faced.

The state of emergency gives the government the power to:

  • impose a mandatory curfew,
  • order the temporary closure of places where people gather, such as concert halls and theatres;
  • impose house arrest on people considered dangerous;
  • confiscate weapons;
  • conduct searches with more leeway

As well, schools in the Paris area are closed, and field trips cancelled. Hospitals have mobilized a “Plan Blanc,” which effectively puts them on high alert.

About 1,500 troops have been brought to the French capital to provide additional security.

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