The Latest on the shootings of police officers in Paris (all times local):
French conservative candidate Francois Fillon has pledged to keep the country under a state of emergency following the shooting of police officers Thursday in Paris.
In a statement at his campaign headquarters, Fillon said “the fight for the French people’s freedom and security will be mine. This must be the priority” of the next president. Fillon promised to boost police and military forces.
He also said that, if elected, he would launch a “diplomatic initiative” aiming to create an international collaboration against Islamic extremists that would include all major actors, including the United States, the European Union, Russia, Iran, Turkey and the Gulf countries.
France has been under a state of emergency since the 2015 attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris. Fillon hopes his experience as prime minister from 2007 to 2012 and hardline views on security issues will give his campaign a boost, just two days before the first round of the vote.
The two top contenders Sunday will advance to the runoff on May 7.
Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called on the government to restore France’s borders immediately following the shooting of Paris officers in Paris. The leader of the National Front wants France to exit the European passport-free Schengen area.
In a statement from her campaign headquarter in Paris, she asked the government and judicial authorities to handle the case of all individuals on the French territory known for “their adhesion to the enemy’s ideology”. She wants foreigners signaled as Islamic radicals to be expelled from the country and French nationals identified for the same reason to face trial.
Le Pen, who has campaigned on anti-immigration views and a strong security stance, is seeking to give her campaign a last boost ahead of Sunday’s vote for the first round of the presidential election. Latest polls suggest she is in a position to be among the two top contenders and advance to the May 7 runoff.
Two French officials say the gunman who shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees was detained in February for threatening police then freed. The officials spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss details of the probe into Thursday night’s attack.
The officials said the gunman was detained toward the end of February after speaking threateningly about the police but then released for lack of evidence. He was convicted in 2003 of attempted homicide in shootings on two police officers.
Police shot and killed the gunman after he opened fire on a police van on Paris’ most famous boulevard. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.