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France On Highest Security Alert Ahead Of The Paris Olympics

PARIS OLYMPICS: France is gearing up security measures ahead of its unprecedented opening ceremony for the Paris Olympics next month.

Cpt Sandy of theff French Army told the AP that Fennec helicopters will be patrolling the city and protecting airspace on the day.

The wildly ambitious July 26 ceremony is proving to be a gargantuan security challenge.

On the day of the eagerly-awaited event, around 200 Olympic delegations will join the parade on more than 80 boats. They will make the journey from east to west, along a six-kilometer (3.7-mile) route which has become a major talking point — for its audacity as a unique open-air event and for its exposure to potential danger.

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said in April that the parade route will be inside a high-security zone described as an “anti-terrorism perimeter.” He said it will include the first row of buildings along the route.

Anyone who wants to enter the zone in the eight days before the ceremony and on July 26 itself will need to pre-register online and will “systematically” be subjected to the background security checks known in France as an “administrative investigation,” Nunez said.

The French government also decided that tourists won’t be given free access to watch the opening ceremony because of security concerns. Access will be invitation-only instead.

Security concerns led French President Emmanuel Macron to say in mid-April that the ceremony could shift to Stade de France if the threat level was too high. But French authorities said Monday events will go on for the big day as originally planned, with no alternatives being prepared at this stage.

There will be a final rehearsal, involving the full armada of boats, before the opening ceremony — one which is expected to bring 100 world leaders to the city’s embankments, where more than 300,000 people will watch.

“We will give our heart and souls to make it a great success for the French people,” France’s Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said Monday. “They deserve it.”

Africanews 

Additional sources • AP

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