The war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas will not affect the security plans for next year’s Olympic Games in France, the chief of the organising committee for the Paris 2024 Olympics said on Monday.
There have been protests in recent days with the country being home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities. France was put on its highest security alert on Friday after a teacher was killed in an Islamist attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron also deployed up to 7,000 soldiers for increased security patrols, as bomb alerts forced the evacuation of the Louvre museum. The Middle East conflict has often stoked domestic tensions in the past.
“We will not change our plans with what is happening at the moment because since the beginning we are at the best level in terms of security with Paris 2024,” Tony Estanguet, the president of the organising committee for the July 26-Aug. 11 Games, told reporters.
“We anticipated a lot what we need. From the year 2020, we know very carefully how many people we need venue by venue, day by day and we continue to work with the public authorities to guarantee the security.
“So again, I’m very confident because there is a strong commitment coming from our partners to guarantee the security.”
France has said it will deploy some 35,000 security agents and the military to secure the 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony alone, a river parade through the heart of Paris, from threats including drone strikes.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to line the Seine river along the 6km route to watch the national delegations sail in a flotilla of boats from the Austerlitz Bridge to the foot of the Eiffel Tower in the first Olympics opening ceremony of this size staged outside the stadium.
French police used teargas and water cannon to break up a banned rally in support of Palestinian people in Paris recently, as Macron urged the French to remain united and refrain from bringing the Israel-Hamas conflict home.
The country has been targeted by a series of Islamist attacks over the years, the worst being a simultaneous assault by gunmen and suicide bombers on entertainment venues and cafes in Paris in November 2015.
“From the beginning of the journey, security is really a part of the project,” Estanguet, who won three Olympic gold medals in canoe slalom, said after a Paris 2024 presentation at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Mumbai.
“We had a terrorist attack in 2015 and it was in the middle of the beginning of this project. So from the beginning, I think the public authorities with Paris 2024 set security as the number one priority in the success of the Games.”
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