security fears and colossal spending — RT in French

The Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin presented this May 23 a security protocol for the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. A large-scale device will be mobilized for a costly and extraordinary event.

“An exceptional security issue”, summarized the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin: on July 26, 2024, the opening ceremony of the 33rd Olympiad of the modern era will take place in Paris. To deal with security challenges, the minister presented a protocol with the main players in the organization of the 2024 Olympics, the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and the president of the Games Organizing Committee (and triple gold medalist in canoeing ) Tony Estanguet.

the first time the ceremony will take place outside a stadium, Darmanin reported.

The ceremony of all dangers

The opening ceremony will be “unpublished” in the modern history of the Games: for the first time, it will take place outdoors, that is to say “outside a stadium”, noted Darmanin. The event will take place along the Seine between the François Mitterrand library and the Eiffel Tower, he reported. The athletes will not parade on an athletics track as usual but on board boats. This will be followed by an artistic and musical show and then the protocol ceremony itself with the officials.

In all, 115 boats will be mobilized to transport some “10,000 athletes”, still according to the minister. About “200 heads of state and government” will attend the show, but also “several hundred thousand” spectators on site. AFP even mentions the figure of 400,000 people.

In his announcements, the Minister of the Interior announced an unprecedented mobilization with 35,000 members of the internal security forces in addition to reinforcements from private security. For the French government, a misstep would be deplorable. Gérald Darmanin estimates that several billion people will watch the ceremony.

In the event of a major incident, the repercussions in terms of tourism could be dramatic. In 2022, the final of the Football Champions League which was to take place at the Krestovski stadium in Saint Petersburg but which was finally moved to the Stade de France in Saint-Denis had been the scene of violent incidents. The responsibility of the Minister of the Interior had then been widely pointed out.

Sharing of responsibilities and uncertain cost

The Olympic Games involve an important security device, all the more so in a city like Paris particularly exposed to delinquency. Figures from the Ministry of the Interior thus show a 24.6% increase in intentional assault and battery in 2022 in the capital.

France’s top police officer is counting on the development of the video surveillance system to deal with security issues and argues for an increase of 400 cameras in Paris, bringing the total to 4,400. In all, 25 million euros will thus be allocated to this single device.

In addition to the direct security threat, there is the potential threat of drone attacks, which worries the French authorities, but also the question of cyber. Thus, the minister evokes “four billion attacks” of this type during the Tokyo Games in 2021 for a sporting event which had welcomed very few public, health crisis obliges.

In Japan, the Games were initially supposed to cost 6 billion euros and the final bill amounted to 12 billion. For Paris, the initial hearing (2017) mentioned a cost of 6.6 billion, it is now estimated at 8.8 billion. A total that does not take into account the cost of security. This could, however, inflate the budget. The costing of a preliminary contribution from the Court of Auditors mentioned in the summer of 2022 a cost of 419 million euros for state security expenditure. The opening ceremony, exceptional, was then not taken into account.

The Paris Olympic Games are a major event for France and the President of the Republic intends to make this sporting event a historic moment in his presidency. After the missteps in terms of ticket sales, deemed too expensive by the French, the public authorities will have to be reassuring about security and avoid blowing up the budget.

RT All Fr Trans

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