From the BBC:
French Minister Christiane Taubira resigns amid terror row
53 minutes ago
The French justice minister has resigned, blaming a “major political disagreement” with her government.
Christiane Taubira stepped down from her job shortly before anti-terrorism proposals that she disagreed with went before parliament.
If passed, the laws would mean that people who are convicted of terrorism offences are stripped of citizenship.
The plans were put forward after the 13 November Paris attacks in which 130 people were murdered.
“I left the government over a major political disagreement,” Ms Taubira said.
“I am choosing to be true to myself, to my commitments, my battles and my relationships with other people.”
Many of the Islamist militants who carried out attacks in France and have joined the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group have had dual citizenship.
Ms Taubira was among several figures on the left who objected to the government’s proposals because they singled out those with dual nationality.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls presented the revised article of the constitution to parliament, ahead of a debate scheduled to start in early February.
State of emergency
France has been under a state of emergency since the night of the Paris attacks. It allows suspects to be placed under house arrest and for meetings or demonstrations to be banned.
A high court ruled on Wednesday that the state of emergency can continue. A human rights group had challenged plans for its extension, but the judge said “imminent danger” had not gone away. The ruling was made in the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court.
Patrice Spinosi, the lawyer for the League for Human Rights, told the French newspaper Le Monde that the persistence of an “unidentified threat” was not enough justification for continuing the state of emergency.
Prime Minister Valls has previously told the BBC that the state of emergency should remain in place “for as long as necessary”.
One of France’s few senior black politicians, Christiane Taubira, 63, has been replaced by Jean-Jacques Urvoas who is seen as a supporter of the constitutional change and an ally of Prime Minister Valls.
Born in French Guiana, Ms Taubira has suffered racist taunts from the far-right during her time as justice minister.
Her left-wing leanings have put her increasingly at odds with official policy, especially after the November attacks when the president announced a much tougher line on terrorism, BBC Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield reports. …
Darling of the left, by Hugh Schofield, BBC News Paris
President Hollande is going to miss Christiane Taubira because she performed a vital role in his government. Every time he took a move to the right, or was accused of doing so, he could point to his justice minister and say: “Don’t worry, Christiane’s still with me.”
She was his left-wing shield, and he kept her in office to ward off attacks from inside the Socialists over his increasingly pro-business economic policies, and (since November) his tough new line on terror.
Taubira was the darling of the left. Pugnacious and outspoken, she saw through the gay marriage law, and promoted a liberal line on police and sentencing. By the same token, the right despised her and there is now much rejoicing in their ranks.
In the end, President Hollande could no longer pull off the act of political splits which allowed his government to include such mutually hostile forces as Manuel Valls (on the right) and Taubira (on the left).
The times being as they are, it was the left-winger who went.
Last month the justice minister made plain her distaste of the plan to strip citizens with dual nationality of their French citizenship, arguing it “would not help the fight against terrorism in any way“. …
The government aims to extend the three-month state of emergency imposed after the November attacks when it expires on 26 February.
Why the resignation of France’s justice minister strikes at the heart of French values: here.
Thursday 28th January 2016
posted by Morning Star in World
Fears that measures will unfairly target Muslims
by Our Foreign Desk
PRESIDENT Francois Hollande lost a left-wing fig leaf for his increasingly neoliberal government yesterday when Justice Minister Christiane Taubira resigned over plans to strip citizenship from dual-nationality convicted terrorists.
Ms Taubira, who hails from French Guiana and was acclaimed for championing legalisation of same-sex marriage, tweeted that “sometimes to resist is to remain, sometimes to resist is to leave.”
Her left-wing leanings have put her increasingly at odds with official policy, especially after the November 13 murderous attacks in Paris when the president announced a tougher line on terrorism.
A communique from the Elysee Palace said that Mr Hollande had accepted the minister’s decision to resign.
“They agreed on the need to bring her role to an end at a time when debate on constitutional revision begins in the national assembly today,” the statement read.
The revision includes the power to declare a state of emergency under the constitution, which would make it easier for the government to adopt strict powers such as police raids and house arrests.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls aims to extend the three-month state of emergency imposed in November when it expires on February 26.
The new justice minister is Jean-Jacques Urvoas from Brittany, who is considered a security specialist and is close to Mr Valls.
The government citizenship Bill, which was a knee-jerk reaction to the Paris terrorist attacks, is popular among conservatives and the racist far right but has divided Socialist Party supporters.
Opponents fear unfair targeting of Muslims, while some compare it to the revocation of citizenship of French Jews during World War II.
Ms Taubira had voiced distaste for the plan to strip joint citizens of their French citizenship, arguing that it “would not help the fight against terrorism in any way.” She said the plan was being dropped only for it be announced then by Mr Valls who called it a “strong symbolic act against those who have excluded themselves from the national community.”
Ms Taubira had planned to travel to the US yesterday, where she was to meet Attorney General Loretta Lynch and members of the Black Lives Matter movement and receive an honorary degree from the University of Wisconsin.
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Widespread strikes and protests across France
Strikes by taxi drivers, aircraft control staff, civil servants and teachers took place this week on “Black Tuesday”, with 120 demonstrations being held across the country.
More than 2,000 taxi drivers in Paris blockaded major roads with piles of burning tyres. Their demonstration continued throughout the day into the following day. The taxi drivers were protesting against drivers working for the phone app taxi hailing service Uber. They accuse the service of undermining their livelihoods. Ibrahima Sylla, a spokesman for the Taxis de France collective, stated on Yahoo news service, “Today our service is at stake, we are fed up of meetings and negotiations.”
Air traffic control staff at Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports held a one-day strike over pay and working conditions, which led to the cancellation of 20 percent of flights.
Around 5.5 million civil servants reportedly joined the action in opposition to austerity cuts. Those involved included crèche workers, hospital staff and doctors. Around 10 percent of primary school teachers and 20 percent of secondary school teachers took part in the one-day strike.
Farmers joined the action protesting against falling prices for their produce. They used their tractors to block roads in rural areas and dumped manure outside tax offices.
Around 10,000 protesting workers took part in a march in Paris. They carried placards reading “Enough of austerity” and “Increase wages, not shareholders.” The unions say 150,000 jobs have been wiped out since 2007 and that hospitals had been particularly badly hit.
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