12 Jan 2015

After Paris: Cameron meets to discuss UK terror law

David Cameron is to meet with intelligence and security chiefs to discuss Britain’s response to the terror attacks in France, the day after joining one million marchers on the streets of Paris.

David Cameron joins world leaders at a march in Paris

Following the attacks, which began with the massacre of 12 people at the offices of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the prime minister has pledged to introduce “more comprehensive powers” to monitor terror suspects in the UK.

He said Britain is facing the same threat as France from what he described as “this fanatical death cult of Islamist extremist violence”.

Mr Cameron said: “We have to confront it in our own country, keeping our security strong but also taking on this poisonous narrative that is radicalising young minds, wherever we find it.”

It is wholly unacceptable for this tragedy in Paris to be used as a means to call for a return of the snooper’s charter. Emma Carr, Big Brother Watch

Plans for a communications data bill – branded a “snooper’s charter” by critics – have previously been blocked by the Liberal Democrats – but the Conservatives have vowed to revive the legislation if they win an overall majority in the general election.

“We do need to modernise our rules about interception,” Mr Cameron told ITV News. “I think we cannot allow modern forms of communication to be exempt from the ability – in extremis, with a warrant signed by the Home Secretary – to be exempt from being listened to.

“That is my very clear view and if I am prime minister after the next election I will make sure we legislate accordingly.”

On Sunday the prime minister told Channel 4 News that he defends the right of people to offend.

Civil liberties campaigners have warned against using the Charlie Hebdo massacre to extend surveillance powers.

Big Brother Watch director Emma Carr said: “It is wholly unacceptable for this tragedy in Paris to be used as a means to call for a return of the snooper’s charter.

“It is the wrong solution and would divert resources from focused surveillance operations at a time when the agencies are already struggling to cope with the volume of information available.”

Terror suspect Syria links

The suspected female accomplice of Islamist militants behind the attacks in Paris last week crossed into Syria on Jan 8 from Turkey, Foreign Minister
Mevlut Cavusoglu said in comments posted on state-run news agency Anatolian’s website.

Hayat Boumeddiene arrived in an Istanbul airport on Jan 2 via Madrid and stayed in a hotel, Cavusoglu said in an interview.

French police have launched in an intensive search for 26-year-old Boumeddiene – describing her as “armed and dangerous”.

The world says ‘Je suis Charlie’

As crowds massed in Paris, messages were sent from across the world showing support for the people of France and the victims of last week’s atrocities.

National Gallery, London
Empire State Building, New York

In London, landmarks were lit with the colours of the French tricolour, as was the Empire State building in New York.

George Clooney at Golden Globes

At the Golden Globe awards in California George Clooney (pictured, above), receiving a lifetime achievement award, told the audience: “There were millions of people that marched not just in Paris but around the world. And they were Christians and Jews and Muslims.

“They were leaders of countries all over the world, and they didn’t march in protest. They marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. We won’t do it. So je suis Charlie.”

Egypt Paris protest

In Egypt, a country criticised for attacks on press freedom, including the continuing detention of al Jazeera journalists, a group of journalists held a silent protest in solidarity with the Paris victims.

And there were other demonstrations of support across the world, from Brazil to Mongolia. You can see pictures below.


Above: Mongolian journalists hold a vigil at Genghis Square in Ulan Bator.


Above: Artists in Mumbai, India, work on a sand sculpture made in tribute to the Paris victims.


Above: People march as they carry a surfboard reading, “I am Charlie” in Rio de Janeiro.


Above: A banner reading “Je suis Charlie” displayed at the Realto bridge on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.


Above: People gather for a candlelight vigil near the French embassy in Tunis, Tunisia.


Above: Real Madrid and Espanyol players stand during a minute of silence at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.