PARIS — French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday urged his countrymen to defy terrorists by going back to their normal way of life, visiting cafes, museums and sports stadiums, and not caving in to fear and xenophobia.
“Terrorists steal the lives of innocent people and they also want to suspend ours,” Hollande told mayors from around the country in a televised address. “France will remain a country of freedom, of movement, of culture, an active, brave, dynamic country that doesn’t surrender to fear.”
Hollande vowed to work with allies to destroy the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for bomb and gun attacks in Paris on Friday that killed 129 people and wounded hundreds.
In a speech following a seven-hour police siege linked to the attacks, the president proclaimed that France is “at war” with terrorists, but also warned his against overreactions.
“We must be implacable against all forms of violence. No xenophobic, anti-Semite, anti-Muslim act must be tolerated,” he said.
A bill to extend France’s state of emergency for three months includes a measure that enables authorities to close “any association or gathering” — which notably includes mosques and community groups— that would encourage people to carry out terrorist acts.
The bill is to be debated by both houses of Parliament on Thursday and Friday and expected to be voted on by the end of the week.
The French leader stressed that “life must resume in full” and promised extra security to ensure that museums and popular tourist sites can reopen.
“What would our country be without its cafes, concerts, sport events, museums?” Hollande said. “Our duty is to get on with our lives.”
Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report.