announced this past week by President Emmanuel Macron.

imminent lifting of a yearlong ban on all but the most essential travel from the United States to the European Union, just in time for summer vacation, will draw back free-spending Americans after a long absence.

Breakfast in America, a popular pancake restaurant in Paris, said the furlough schemes, while essential to the restaurant’s survival, had paradoxically put some of his higher-paid workers at a disadvantage.

While waitstaff earning France’s monthly minimum wage of €1,539 get their full pretax salary under the furlough program, cooks and managers, who earn more, took about a 15 percent pay cut to stay home until the pancake house reopens.

For one manager, a single father with two children, the reduced pay means “he’s really struggling,” Mr. Carlson said.

At Mr. Thiriet’s restaurants and hotels in Metz, the 30 unexpected job vacancies are not yet debilitating, since restaurant reopenings will come in stages and tourism and bookings at hotels are not likely to return to prepandemic levels quickly.

Still, he said, it’s a challenge to replace employees with years and even decades of experience who decided during the pandemic that the work was no longer what they wanted.

“At first people said this is nice, one or two months relaxing at home,” Mr. Thiriet said. “Now, there’s a lack of long-term visibility about this industry, and some people are not so sure they want to be in it.”

He is working with other hotel and restaurant owners in the area to create retraining programs, in hopes of luring new candidates.

Mr. France said he and local restaurant and hotel owners were also working with unemployment offices in hopes of securing applicants in need of seasonal work to be ready for the anticipated crowds.

“We’ll try to limit the damage that’s been done to our business,” Mr. France added.

“But if we don’t have workers, it will be really hard.”

Gaëlle Fournier contributed reporting.

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Maskless and Sweaty: Clubbing Returns to Britain for a Weekend

On April 29, President Emmanuel Macron of France said he hoped to remove most restrictions in the country on June 30, but nightclubs would remain shut.

Many D.J.s said they wanted clubs to reopen soon as possible, and not just for the sake of their work. Clubbing wasn’t just about music, said Marea Stamper, a D.J. better known as the Blessed Madonna, after performing a set at the Liverpool event. “We come to raves to dance, to drink, to fall in love, to meet our friends,” she said. Nightclubs create communities, she added, “and to have that cut off is dreadful.”

“It’s not just a party,” she added. “It’s never just a party.”

In Liverpool, that sense of community was evident at 7:30 p.m. when Yousef Zahar, a D.J. and co-owner of Circus, the event’s organizer, took to the stage. For his first track, he put on an emotional house tune called “When We Were Free,” which he had made last year in the middle of Britain’s third lockdown.

It seemed an odd choice for an event celebrating clubbing’s return, but as it was finishing, he started to play a sample of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last,” Dr. King said, his voice booming around the warehouse.

Then, as green lights flashed over the crowd, Zahar dropped Ultra Naté’s “Free,” a ’90s dance hit. As soon as it reached its euphoric chorus — “You’re free, to do what you want to do” — confetti cannons went off, spraying paper all over the crowd, and the ravers began to sing along. For the rest of the night they were going to follow the song’s advice.

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Russian Attempts to Expand Sputnik Vaccine Sets Off Discord in Europe

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — When Slovakia’s prime minister welcomed a military aircraft carrying 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia in March, he posed proudly for photographs on the tarmac in front of crates stuffed with what he expected to be his country’s medical salvation.

Slovakia at the time had the world’s highest per-capita death rate from Covid-19, and the arrival of the Russian vaccine offered a rare glimmer of hope. For Russia it offered big benefits, too: a small but symbolically important new market for its product in the European Union, which has so far declined to register the vaccine and urged member states to hold off on orders until approval is granted.

But the effort by the Slovakian leader, Igor Matovic, soon blew up in his face, costing him his job and almost toppling the whole government — just three months after it adopted a new security strategy rooted in unequivocal support for NATO and wariness of Russia.

The strongly pro-Western Slovak government, torn between its commitment to abide by European rules and desperation for a way out of the health crisis, spasmed in crisis for weeks.

Sputnik V, the world’s first registered vaccine, is the medical breakthrough proclaimed last summer by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but it has already proved itself to be remarkably effective in spreading disarray and division in Europe.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron talked to Mr. Putin recently about possible deliveries of Sputnik, which Mr. Macron’s own foreign minister derided as a “propaganda tool.” The Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, furious that European regulators have been slow in approving Sputnik, has clashed with Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel, over the bloc’s vaccination program, which so far involves only Western vaccines.

But Slovakia provides the most concrete example of how Russia’s vaccine diplomacy has had side effects that can be highly toxic.

The decision by Mr. Matovic, then the Slovakian prime minister, to order two million doses of Sputnik V set the country at odds with the European Union and brought one of Eastern Europe’s most stoutly pro-Western governments to the brink of collapse as junior partners in a fractious governing coalition, outraged by the import of Sputnik, defected.

said in a tweet in February that Mr. Putin offered Sputnik V to the world as a “weapon to divide and rule.” And Poland said it was considering buying Chinese vaccines, despite similar concerns about it, but would definitely not order Sputnik V.

A recent survey by the Globsec research group found that, among those willing to be vaccinated, only 1 percent of Poles and Romanians and 2 percent of Lithuanians would choose Sputnik over American and European brands. Even in Hungary, the lone European Union member to start inoculating its citizens with Russia’s product, only 4 percent want Sputnik V.

But in Slovakia, around 15 percent of those willing to be vaccinated expressed a preference for the Russian vaccine, offering Moscow an opportunity to break out of the quarantine imposed by deep suspicion elsewhere.

That Russia targeted Slovakia as a place to widen Sputnik’s narrow beachhead in Europe was evident long before Mr. Matovic decided to order the vaccine.

video on Facebook in January saying that he was ready to help broker a deal with Moscow for the delivery of Sputnik.

His pitch appealed to the generally Russia-friendly sentiments of many ordinary Slovaks, particularly those of an anti-establishment bent.

Martin Smatana, a former Health Ministry official in Bratislava, said he had been amazed by how many of his friends want the Russian vaccine and say, “Screw the system, use Sputnik.”

a report this past week, the European Union’s foreign service said that Russia’s drive to promote Sputnik abroad was aimed at “sowing distrust” in Europe’s medicines regulator and stoking divisions.

In response, the Russian state investment agency spearheading Sputnik’s export drive lamented that the vaccine, which it hails as a “vaccine for all mankind,” has fallen victim to “unfortunate daily information attacks.” On Friday, after Brazil raised concerns about Sputnik, complaining of inadequate data, the vaccine’s developer in Moscow, the Gamaleya Institute, issued an angry statement complaining that “unethical forces continuously attack the Sputnik V vaccine for competitive and political reasons.”

The testy arguments in Slovakia over the vaccine reached a peak in April when the country’s drug regulatory agency claimed that Mr. Matovic had fallen for a Russian bait-and-switch. It said the vaccine doses sent to Slovakia at a cost of around $2 million differed from the Sputnik V reviewed favorably in a peer-reviewed February article in The Lancet, a respected British medical journal.

The Slovak claim, denounced by Moscow as “sabotage,” cast doubt on Sputnik’s main selling point: a proven efficacy rate of over 90 percent against Covid-19. The Lancet gave the vaccine 91.6 percent efficacy in February, and Russian scientists have since claimed a “real world” rate 97.6 percent.

But the main issue with Sputnik has never been whether it works — most experts believe it does — but Russia’s repeated failure to follow procedure and provide all the data needed by foreign regulators to assess safety. Slovakia’s regulator made its damning statement not because it had discovered any specific problems with Sputnik but “due to the lack of data from the manufacturer, inconsistencies in dosage forms and inability to compare the batches used in different studies and countries.”

The 200,000 doses that Russia delivered in March were still all unused at a pharmaceutical company in eastern Slovakia as of last week. But Mr. Matovic said Russia had already returned the money paid by Slovakia.

Pavol Babos, a political analyst in Bratislava, said Mr. Matovic was “never pro-Russian” but “very naïve.” Desperate for a way to slow the pandemic and lift his own slumping ratings, the prime minister, Mr. Babos added, “fell into a trap set by Russian propaganda.”

But Mr. Matovic scoffed at accusations that Moscow had played him to promote its own geopolitical agenda. The Russians, he said, “wanted to help, but instead of thanking them we said, ‘You are stupid, and you are cheating people around the world.’”

Most at fault, Mr. Matovic said, was the State Institute for Drug Control, which asserted that the Sputnik V batches Russia sent to Slovakia did “not have the same characteristics and properties” as the version V reviewed by The Lancet. This, he said, “was an extremely incorrect political statement.”

Zuzana Batova, the institute’s director, who has received death threats from aggressive Sputnik fans, declined to be interviewed, saying she did not want to pour oil on the fire.

The head of the Biomedical Research Center, which carried out a series of 14 tests in Slovakia on the Russian vaccine, said she had no concerns over whether Sputnik V works but was troubled by Russia’s lack of transparency.

While the potential side effects of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been documented in detail publicly, the center’s chief, Silvia Pastorekova, said, “We know nothing about Sputnik’s side effects.”

The Russian vaccine, she said, passed all of her team’s tests but failed to win approval from the state regulator because more than three-quarters of the documents required to meet European norms had either not been submitted or were incomplete.

“We are part of the European family and we should accept the rules of the family,” Ms. Pastorekova said.

Monika Pronczuk contributed reporting from Brussels, and Kristina Hamarova from Bratislava.

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France Plots a Path Out of Lockdown

President Emmanuel Macron of France outlined plans on Thursday for the gradual reopening of the country, starting with the reopening of all schools next week, followed by the return of museums, cinemas, shops and outdoor service at cafes on May 19. The 7 p.m. curfew will be pushed back to 9 p.m., he told French newspapers.

“We must recover our French art of living, while remaining prudent and responsible: our conviviality, our culture, sports,” Mr. Macron said, though he added that the reopening in some regions might be delayed if cases rise.

Cafes and restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons inside starting the second week of June, and gyms will also reopen then under certain conditions such as limited number of people. The nighttime curfew and most restrictions on gatherings will be lifted on June 30.

Europe has experienced a significant downturn in coronavirus cases after two months of surging infections. The World Health Organization’s chief European official on Thursday cautioned that infection rates across the region remained high.

vaccinations ramp up, European governments are rolling back restrictions on social gatherings. Britain, which has led the region’s vaccine rollout, has allowed pubs, bars and restaurants to reopen outdoors and is progressively lifting limits on the size of social gatherings.

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France Arrests Former Members of Italian Extremist Group

PARIS — The French police on Wednesday arrested seven former members of Italian left-wing extremist groups who had been convicted of terrorism crimes in Italy decades ago, but were given refuge in France.

A court will now decide if the militants, arrested at the request of the Italian authorities, can be extradited to Italy, a decision that could take several years depending on appeals.

Dozens of Italian leftist extremists were given refuge in France decades ago by the socialist government at the time if they agreed to renounce violence, a move that long poisoned the diplomatic relationship between France and Italy.

The government’s announcement of the arrests on Wednesday signaled an easing of that troubled relationship, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy and President Emmanuel Macron of France managing to establish closer ties in recent months.

Lotta Continua, which translates as “Continuous Struggle,” was also detained in France. Mr. Pietrostefani was sentenced to 22 years in prison for murdering the police chief of Milan, Luigi Calabresi, in 1972.

François Mitterrand, the former socialist president of France, instituted a policy in the 1980s when he was in office of granting asylum to leftist Italian militants — much to the anger of the Italian government, which requested their extradition — providing they renounced violence and were not wanted in Italy for murder or other “crimes of blood.” Some of the militants, like Mr. Pietrostefani, however, had been implicated in such crimes.

One of the beneficiaries of the so-called Mitterrand Doctrine who was arrested on Wednesday was Marina Petrella, a former Red Brigades member who fled to France in 1993 after being convicted of involvement in several murders.

In 2008, President Nicolas Sarkozy rejected a request from the Italian government to extradite Ms. Petrella, citing humanitarian reasons as her health was deteriorating. The refusal provoked outrage in Italy and revived dormant tensions between the two countries.

The French presidency said in its statement Wednesday that the arrests “fall strictly within the framework of the Mitterrand doctrine, since they are blood crimes.”

In 2019, Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister at the time, said that he would “appeal to the French president to return to Italy some fugitives who do not deserve to drink champagne under the Eiffel Tower, but deserve to rot in jail in Italy.”

strategic alliance with Mr. Macron at the European level and Wednesday’s decision testified to this new working relationship.

Marta Cartabia, Italy’s justice minister, said she met with her French counterpart, Éric Dupond-Moretti, and that he had shown a “particular sensitivity” to the case and “decisive will to cooperate.”

Mr. Dupond-Moretti said he hoped the arrests “will allow Italy to turn a bloody and tearful page of its history after 40 years.”

Benedetta Tobagi, an Italian journalist and daughter of Walter Tobagi, a reporter who was killed in 1980 by a left-wing terrorist brigade, welcomed the decision in an editorial in the Italian daily La Repubblica on Wednesday.

But she added, “the anomaly is not the arrests, but the unreasonable persistence of the Mitterrand doctrine, the fact that it took so many years, and so much effort, to unblock the situation.”

Gaia Pianigiani contributed reporting from Rome.

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The Embers of a Long-Smoldering Revolution Are Stoked in France

PARIS — On a recent chilly morning, a hundred people flocked to a tiny square near the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, at the top of the hill in Montmartre. They were not the usual tourists drawn by the breathtaking panoramic views over Paris, but left-wing demonstrators celebrating the 150th anniversary of a revolution that started right where they stood.

“We’re here, we’re here!” a guitarist sang, playing a tune popularized by the Yellow Vest protesters who have in recent years faced off against the government of President Emmanuel Macron, as red flags and banners fluttered around him.

Mr. Macron, the guitarist sang, was equivalent to his 19th-century predecessor, Patrice de Mac Mahon, who crushed the revolution they had come to commemorate, the Paris Commune of 1871 — a cataclysm that still consumes many on the French far left.

“All the just causes of today were initiated by the Commune, by our forefathers,” said Frédéric Jamet, 61, who proudly described himself as a “Yellow Vest veteran.” Around him were other protesters wearing yellow vests, communist militants wrapped in red scarves and a handful of amused students and curious retirees.

series of social movements in recent years, the story of the Paris Commune has made a comeback, with protesters making connections between today’s struggles and those of a century and a half ago. “The Commune” has inspired calls for greater political representation for people across France, been used to highlight contemporary economic inequalities and even emerged as a reference for some feminist activists.

Dozens of commemorations of the revolution’s 150th anniversary have been organized since mid-March — they will continue until late May — revealing the old beating heart of revolutionary Paris, with debates raging in newspaper columns and at City Hall over the legacy of an event marked by violence.

bloody week,” while Commune fighters executed dozens of hostages and set fire to several historic buildings.

But it is perhaps the tragic and ephemeral nature of the Commune that has most fueled the fascination with this revolution today, its existence too brief to have led to disillusionment.

Mr. Deluermoz said that because the Commune involved so many different elements of revolutionary movements, it had fueled a wide variety of analyses.

Nuit Debout protests in 2016, a French version of the Occupy movement, renamed the Place de la République in Paris as the Place de la Commune. Yellow Vest protesters in 2018 chanted slogans like “1871 reasons to believe.”

“The problem is that we are experiencing things, injustices again, that’s what’s awakening the spirit of the Commune,” said Sophie Cloarec, pointing to the new economic insecurity and exploitation engendered by the gig economy.

Ms. Cloarec, on a recent Saturday afternoon, was participating in a feminist march honoring women who played a major role in the 1871 revolution. Around her, groups of women were papering walls with posters of famous female Commune fighters, such as the teacher Louise Michel or Victorine Brocher, who kept a canteen during the siege of Paris.

It was the latest sign of the revolution’s enduring resonance, as feminist groups are emerging as a powerful force in France against the backdrop of a delayed #MeToo movement.

Mathilde Larrère, a historian of 19th-century French revolutions, said the Commune “was a feminist movement because women embraced it” to obtain new rights like better access to education and pensions for unmarried widows.

Jean-Pierre Theurier, a member of the Association of the Friends of the Commune, said he had been surprised by the renewed public interest in the revolution. He said more people were attending the walking tours he organizes in the Père Lachaise cemetery, where a bloody battle took place between the graves and where some 150 Commune fighters were executed; bullet holes are still visible on some walls.

Paris City Hall in February, when conservative city councilors accused the left-wing majority of exploiting the anniversary to political ends while ignoring the Commune’s own acts of violence and destruction. Historians and politicians then clashed over the need to commemorate the event, and the French press took sides.

But perhaps the fiercest attack came from the least expected side: the left.

On a chilly March morning, City Hall officials organized the first commemorative event, gathering about 50 Parisians at the foot of the Montmartre hill to carry life-size silhouettes of famous Commune fighters. Anger roared above them, in the tiny square near the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, where left-wing demonstrators had organized their own event, boycotting the official celebration.

“You Versaillais!” a man shouted to the crowd down the hill, using the name given to people living in Versailles, the city where the central government regrouped during the Commune, and the home to French kings until the French Revolution of 1789.

“Those down there, they’re the privileged few,” said Mr. Jamet, the Yellow Vest veteran.

Standing a few feet away, Catherine Krcmar, a 70-year-old seasoned leftist activist, smiled as she watched the protest around her. “Revolutionary Paris is not dead,” she said.

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France Seeks Change in Law After Outrage Over Verdict in Anti-Semitic Killing

PARIS — The French government plans to introduce a bill aimed at closing a legal loophole that allowed the man who killed a Jewish woman in an anti-Semitic frenzy in 2017 to escape trial because a court found that he was in a delirious state brought on by cannabis.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said Sunday that the bill would be presented in time for a vote by Parliament this summer and fill the “juridical void” that currently makes it impossible to “take account of the voluntary intake of toxic substances” leading to delirium in the commission of crimes.

France’s highest court ruled earlier this month that Kobili Traoré, who beat the woman, Sarah Halimi, before throwing her out the window of her Paris apartment to her death, could not be tried because he had no “discernment or control” over his acts. It upheld a verdict by a lower court to the effect that under current French law the origin of Traoré’s disturbed condition — intake of drugs — was immaterial.

The verdict set off a storm of protest from French and international Jewish groups. It also led to a large demonstration by French Jews in Paris on Sunday, and smaller ones in other cities, including Lyon and Marseille.

President Emmanuel Macron expressed his dissent with the ruling, unusual in a judicial matter, saying in an interview with Le Figaro that, “Deciding to take drugs and then ‘becoming mad’ should not in my eyes remove your criminal responsibility.”

The highest court, known as the Court of Cassation, recognized the anti-Semitic nature of the crime — “a frenzied anti-Semitic act,” according to the report of one psychiatrist — but said in effect that its hands were tied by the law. Mr. Traoré has admitted the killing and is in a psychiatric institution.

More than 20,000 people joined the protest in Paris on Sunday, according to the Interior Ministry, holding banners that said, “Killed because she was Jewish” and “Victim of a judicial shipwreck.” Before the demonstration, a top French judicial council expressed concern, calling for respect of the independence of the judiciary and a measured tone in discussion of the case.

The demonstration was attended by Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor of Paris, who has said a street in the capital would be named after Ms. Halimi, who was 65. Other prominent attendees included Xavier Bertrand, a center-right candidate in the presidential election next year, and Bernard-Henri Lévy, the author and philosopher who has been active in denouncing rising anti-Semitism in France. Several speakers called for the new law, if enacted, to be called the “Sarah Halimi law.”

In a long interview with the magazine Marianne, Paul Bensussan, one of the psychiatrists asked to examine Mr. Traoré, tried to explain his rationale for finding him unfit for trial.

Mr. Traoré, he said, was hallucinating well before the murder itself, engaging in long soliloquies, responding to imaginary voices and consulting an exorcist. The level of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, found in his body was low to moderate, leading him and other psychiatrists to conclude that the drug “was a cofactor not the cause” in the assailant’s “blast of delirium.”

The sight of a menorah, and the fact Ms. Halimi was Jewish, “were the spark,” said Mr. Bensussan, who is Jewish. “The crime was that of a madman, but his crime was anti-Semitic because in his delirium he equated Jews with the devil. Public indignation and that of the Jewish community are, I believe, related to the false idea that recognizing insanity and the lack of penal responsibility mean denying the anti-Semitic dimension of the act.”

The intricacies of this argument appear to have done nothing to calm anger in France’s large Jewish community.

Mr. Macron, in his interview in Le Figaro, said that he wanted the justice minister to present a bill to change the law “as soon as possible.” Mr. Dupond-Moretti has now done that.

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In France, an Ever-Extending Labyrinth of Covid Lockdowns

PARIS — Three French lockdowns, and counting, over the past 13 months have been many things, among them a rare opportunity for the formidable national bureaucracy of about 5.6 million public servants to display their gift for the complication of lives.

With the announcement of the third Paris lockdown last month to try to control the spread of the coronavirus, an apotheosis of the absurd was reached.

A dense, two-page version of the notorious “attestation,” a government form to be completed anytime one leaves home, was so convoluted that it tied the Interior Minister’s spokeswoman in verbal knots trying to explain it. The document had metastasized with each lockdown into an ever more ungainly monster.

over 100,000 people in France have died from it, and more than five million have been infected — was not immediately clear.

The sheer intricacy of the bureaucratic obtuseness overwhelmed me. I could not help wondering whether some fraction of the many hours devoted to coming up with such regulations might have been better used speeding the vaccines to more people. France has up to now underwhelmed in getting its population vaccinated.

The country’s shoe repair stores are open, even if you can’t buy new shoes. Its florists are open, but not kitchenware stores. Its frozen goods shops are open, but not gift shops. Bookstores are open now, although they were closed in the first lockdown. All restaurants, bars and cafes are closed. Mr. Macron has suggested that some easing of restrictions will start on May 3 — maybe.

One sign I recently passed in a shuttered beauty salon read: “Contrary to ‘hairdressers,’ it seems we are not essential to well-being. Injustice!”

As for lingerie and underwear stores, deemed nonessential and so closed, they have embarked on a national protest involving sending lacy panties every day to Prime Minister Jean Castex from all over France.

I know there has to be a logic to what’s open and what’s closed. France, after all, still has a commissioner general for planning, as if the Soviet Union had never disappeared. The country proceeds with methodical purpose based on the analysis and forecasts of highly trained public servants, formed in elite schools.

Still, an overwhelming question grips my entire being: Why these apparently arbitrary rules?

I asked a Castorama store assistant to explain why, for example, the lamps I coveted were off limits while I could buy a crepe maker.

“I don’t really know,” she said. “But, of course, you can always use a candle.”

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Terrorism Fears Feed the Rise of France’s Extreme Right

Jean-François Ricard, France’s top antiterrorism prosecutor, said that “the words uttered by the assailant” at the time of the stabbing indicated it was a terrorist attack. He did not specifically confirm reports that the attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or God is great, in Arabic.

Agence France-Presse, the news agency, reported that the social media posts of the assailant, identified only as Jamel, were often dedicated to denunciations of Islamophobia in France and attacks on prominent right-wing commentators, including Eric Zemmour, the author of the best-selling book “The French Suicide.”

More recently, those posts were dominated by verses from the Quran. Days after the beheading six months ago of a teacher, Samuel Paty, who had shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to a class on free speech, the assailant had joined a campaign titled “Respect Mohammed, Prophet of God,” the agency reported.

It was not clear, as a wide-ranging police investigation began, whether the man, who was living in Rambouillet, had acted alone. Several recent terrorist incidents have involved self-radicalized individuals who have proved hard for the French authorities to trace.

President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the killing with vows to fight on unbowed against “Islamist terrorism.” Before the killing, he had promised in an interview with Le Figaro to recruit an additional 10,000 police officers and gendarmes, a reflection of his determination to uphold “the right to a peaceful life.” This phrase was quickly mocked after the stabbing.

“A peaceful life, Emmanuel Macron?” Guillaume Peltier of the center-right Republicans wrote on Twitter, accusing the president of “an inexcusable renunciation of courage and action.” As for Ms. Le Pen, she was blunt: “France cannot stand this any longer.”

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France Opens Terrorism Inquiry After Killing at Police Station

PARIS — The French authorities opened a terrorism investigation on Friday after a knife-wielding assailant killed a police officer at a station about 25 miles southwest of Paris before being shot dead.

France is still on high alert for terrorism after a string of attacks last fall, and Jean Castex, the prime minister, and Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, quickly rushed to the scene of the attack in Rambouillet, a quiet, affluent town.

“She was a policewoman,” President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter after the attack, identifying the victim only as Stéphanie. “We will yield nothing in the fight against Islamist terrorism,” Mr. Macron added.

Mr. Castex told reporters that the officer, who carried out administrative duties at the station, had been “cravenly” killed in “dramatic” circumstances, but he did not elaborate.

said on Twitter.

a history teacher was beheaded after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on free speech in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, and three people were stabbed to death at a basilica in Nice.

to counter Islamist extremism in France. The attack is likely to further amplify the prominence of the issue during the presidential election campaign next year.

After a wave of large-scale attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed hundreds, France has faced smaller spikes of Islamist terrorism perpetrated by isolated, self-radicalized individuals whom intelligence services have found hard to track.

“Today we need to do a better job following the bottom of the spectrum: these individuals who are not perceived as the most dangerous, but who can take action without any forewarning,” Mr. Macron told the newspaper Le Figaro this week.

Valérie Pécresse, a top regional official, said the assailant had struck at “a symbol of France,” a town in the countryside that she described as “so peaceful.”

Ms. Pécresse said the police station in Rambouillet was well protected and that access inside was restricted. The attacker, she said, appeared to have waited for the victim to briefly exit the building.

French security forces have been often been targeted by terrorists.

In 2016, an Islamic State assailant fatally stabbed an off-duty police officer and his companion, a police employee, at their home. In 2017, a gunman killed a veteran police officer on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. And in 2019, in one of the worst attacks on the French police to date, a radicalized police employee stabbed four of his colleagues to death at the Paris police headquarters.

The attack on Friday was followed by widespread condemnation, especially among Mr. Macron’s political opponents on the right and far-right, who have ramped up criticism of his security record before France’s 2022 presidential elections and regularly blame him for doing too little to protect the police and being too soft on crime.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Rally party and Mr. Macron’s main rival in next year’s election, told the BFMTV news channel that Mr. Macron’s administration was synonymous with “chaos.”

“The security situation in our country has never been so critical,” Ms. Le Pen said. “I wonder if France has become the country most affected by terrorism in Europe. Does it bother the government? I’m not even sure.”

Constant Méheut and Norimitsu Onishi contributed reporting.

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