A controversial French mayor said Tuesday he was setting up a volunteer force to patrol his town while the national state of emergency remains in force following the attacks on Paris.

Robert Menard, who has been accused of turning Beziers in the southwest into a "laboratory of the far-right", urged former soldiers and police officers to join his "Beziers Guard".

"France is living through difficult times and it is in that context that I asked myself how we could reinforce security and help the local and national police," Menard told reporters.

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