Facts about France's state of emergency

French soldiers patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on November 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard) (AFP)

Paris (AFP) - France's state of emergency, imposed across the country after the terrorist attacks which killed at least 129 late Friday, is based on a 1955 law which has been rarely used.

Some facts:

- Who decides ? -

The law providing for a state of emergency was adopted in 1955 at the start of the war between France and Algeria, during which it was used several times.

Under the law France's Council of Ministers decides on imposing the state of emergency by decree for a maximum of 12 days.

From midnight on Saturday, three hours after the deadly Paris attacks, a special government meeting approved the decree.

President Francois Hollande has said that he wants the measure extended by three months, which will require parliamentary approval. The Council of Ministers is expected to submit a draft law to this effect on Wednesday.

Hollande told lawmakers on Sunday he wanted the law on the state of emergency to be modified, to change the "perimeters" and the "length".

- The measures -

The interior minister can order house arrest for persons "whose activities are dangerous for security and public order". Some 104 people have been placed under house arrest since Saturday, according to the minister, Bernard Cazeneuve.

He can also order searches at homes, at day and night, without going through the judiciary. Some 168 searches, which led to 23 arrests and the confiscation of 31 weapons, have taken place.

The minister, or police chiefs, can also order the closure of theatres and concert halls and meeting places and demand that owners of weapons hand them over.

Police chiefs can also prohibit the free movement of people and vehicles in certain places, at certain times, or establish protection and security zones.

The government has not ordered measures to control the press, which are in theory provided for in the 1955 law.

- Where does it apply ?-

The state of emergency applies to all of French territory, according to the latest version of the decree which was issued on Sunday.

- Previous states of emergency -

A state of emergency was imposed several times during the war with Algeria, the law of 1955 having been voted through at the beginning of the conflict.

Since then, before Friday's attacks in Paris, the state of emergency has been used only twice.

It was first implemented in 1985, in the overseas territory of New Caledonia, when clashes erupted in the archipelago.

Then in 2005 it was used by the government of Dominique de Villepin when rioting erupted in suburbs across France.

However in 2005 the measures allowed by the state of emergency were not widely applied, with just seven police chiefs imposing night-time curfews and 23 French departments banning the sale of portable petrol and inflamable materials containers.