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  • Writer's pictureOlga Nesterova

Paris Olympics' Grand Opening Ceremony Raises Security Concerns

Paris Olympics 2024
Julien Mattia | NurPhoto | Getty Images

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has convened intelligence services to evaluate the terrorist threat in light of the recent Moscow concert hall attack claimed by the Islamic State, raising concerns over security for the Paris Olympics.

One of the most significant security challenges facing organizers is safeguarding the unprecedented open-air opening ceremony planned for July 26. Unlike previous Olympics, this ceremony will stretch along a 6km stretch of the Seine River, involving a flotilla of 94 boats carrying athletes, followed by media and security vessels, with crowds estimated to reach 222,000 people along the river’s edge and 200,000 more watching from buildings.

Tourists won't be allowed to watch the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics along the Seine River for free, the French government announced Tuesday (3/5/24), as it grapples with security concerns about the unprecedented open-air event. Free access will be invitation-only instead. (Associated Press)

The grandeur of the event poses logistical and security complexities, prompting authorities to mobilize over 45,000 police officers, with snipers stationed on rooftops and elite units poised on boats. Airspace within a 150km radius around Paris will be shut down during the ceremony to mitigate the risk of drone attacks.

Despite concerns about terrorism, a recent poll indicates that 59% of French citizens are optimistic about France's ability to ensure the Games' security. However, French intelligence agencies are screening thousands of individuals, including athletes, staff, volunteers, and residents near key infrastructure.

President Macron has acknowledged the threat posed by IS-affiliated groups, revealing that the entity behind the Moscow attack, known as Khorasan, has also attempted attacks on French soil.

Intelligence officials warn of the increasing terrorism risk and the potential for cyber-attacks during the Olympics, emphasizing the need for heightened vigilance and preparation.


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