Saturday night in Paris it was the first day of curfew, one of the latest measures introduced by the French government to counter the coronavirus epidemic. The curfew will remain in effect for at least four weeks throughout the Île-de-France region, where Paris is located, as well as in the metropolitan areas of Lille, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, Lyon, Grenoble, Aix-Marseille and Montpellier . It starts at 9 pm and ends at 6 am the following day and provides for the closure of all restaurants, bars, cinemas and theaters, as well as a limitation on movement, for which a self-certification is required to move. So last night the streets and squares of the French capital were almost deserted, except for the police and military patrols.
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The government will try to extend the curfew to six weeks, but to do so it needs the favorable vote of the Parliament. When he announced the measure’s entry into force, French President Emmanuel Macron said it needed to allow the economy to function and to keep schools open.
It is the first time that a curfew has been adopted in France for health reasons. The last time it was introduced – in many large cities but not in Paris – dates back to 2005, in the period of the uprisings in the suburbs: the then Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin had been heavily criticized for the decision given that historically the curfew had been used only in times of war. The last time it was adopted in Paris dates back to October 1961, during the Algerian War of Independence, but at the time it only concerned the “French Muslims” and was decided to prevent violent actions by the Algerian National Liberation Front. .