An 11-page security protocol was signed on Tuesday by the French government~, the head of the organizing committee for the 2024 Paris Games, and the mayor of the French capital, laying out some of the finer points of their preparations to protect the historic July 26 opening ceremony from terrorist threats, drone attacks, and other risks for the large crowds and 10,500 athletes.French organizers are now, quite literally, on the same page in order to pull off the most daring opening ceremony in Olympic history.
A major modification is the requirement for pre-registration for tickets for the hundreds of thousands of spectators who will witness the open-air event for free along a 6-kilometer (3 1/2-mile) parade route on the River Seine. Gerald Darmanin, the French Interior Minister in charge of the security for the Olympics, had been pressing for that change to allow throngs of free viewers to be segregated from 100,000 other guests paying for a closer, waterside view at specified locations on the river’s upper embankments.
If all goes as planned, it should make for some excellent television, showcasing famous landmarks and a Seine that is being prepared for Olympic swimming. However, if there are significant issues, the special logistical and security needs might backfire dramatically in front of a global audience for France. With 35,000 police officers expected to be deployed, Paris’ ceremonial will eclipse “Operation Golden Orb,” Britain’s massive policing operation for the coronation of King Charles III. France will have 250,000 police officers overall. It brought in close to 13,000 police officers. The Metropolitan Police, which has been in existence for 194 years, said it was their largest security operation ever.
Overall, 30,000 officers will be mobilized daily during the Olympics from July 26 to August 11; on the busiest days in the Paris region, that number might reach 45,000. The possibility that the concert could be a target for terrorism is a grave worry in the wake of many attacks by the Islamic State group that claimed 147 lives in Paris and the surrounding area in 2015. Drones carrying bombs are another concern. It’s a completely new threat, said Darmanin.
Concerns have also been raised regarding organizing the large crowds and whether private security officers can be hired in sufficient numbers. In a phone interview, Bertrand Cavallier, the former director of France’s national gendarmerie police training school, said, “It’s very ambitious and it’s true that many experts have voiced opposition.” The actual setup is really intricate.
He listed several difficulties, including the potential for viewers to plunge into the Seine or tumble upon the paying masses below from its lofty embankments. However, the security protocol agreed to on Tuesday indicated that there will be a space big enough for security and rescue personnel to get through between the spectators and the higher parapets.
After prolonged and occasionally violent protests this year against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed pension reforms, there is also a chance for further demonstrations. The minister expressed concern for “enormous public order problems if, clearly, things go wrong.”
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