To begin the best opening ceremony in Olympic history, the French organizers are now on the same page.
The French government, the president of the organizing committee for the 2024 Paris Games and the mayor of the French capital signed an 11-page security document on Tuesday that for the first time outlined their plans to secure the unprecedented July 26 opening ceremony. terrorist attacks, drone attacks and other threats to the large crowd and 10,500 runners.
An interesting change and hundreds of thousands of spectators who will watch the gala open for free, spread over six kilometers on the river Seine, will need to register for tickets.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is in charge of Olympic security, was pushing for more non-paying spectators to be given a spot above the river, separated from the 100,000 other visitors who pay to watch up close, close to the water.
In the face of the skepticism of experts about the size and security problems, Darmanin, the president of the organizing committee Tony Estanguet and the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo spoke at a press conference to defend the French decision to use the center of the city as a meeting place. surprisingly, breaking down the defenses of the traditional stadium for the first time.
It promises good television if all goes well, showing famous monuments and the Seine being cleaned for Olympic swimming. But the special requirements of safety and security can return to the attention of the international audience in France if there are serious problems.
“When France prepares for the Games – the last time was 100 years ago – it does so with ambition,” said Estanguet. “It is difficult to prepare a ceremony with these cultures but, again, with a large audience that France will have, a very beautiful show. Our role is to create a dream, to show how wonderful this country is.”
The goals of Paris are problematic in other ways as well:
- The athletes will be shown from east to west along the river in 91 boats, with another 25 boats reserved for breakdown or other needs. There will also be around 30 security boats; the river may overflow. There have been trials since this July. The entire event, including a water show down to the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, an art and music show, as well as the Olympic torch lighting ceremony and the presence of world leaders is expected to last about 3 1/2. hours.
- With plans to deploy 35,000 police officers – a large part of France’s 250,000 population – the Paris event will be a smaller version of “Operation Golden Orb,” a major British police operation in the guise of King Charles III. He gathered about 13,000 policemen. London’s police chief said it was the biggest security operation his 194-year-old Metropolitan Police had ever led.
- In all, 30,000 officers will be trained nearly every day from July 26-Aug. The 11th Olympic Games, rising to 45,000 on the busiest days in the Paris region, Darmanin told senators in October.
Police vacations will be canceled in June, July and early August and “very rare” and other events that would have required the police will be suspended, he said. The minister warned of “a serious crisis in the public order if, clearly, things do not go well.”
A major concern after a series of attacks by the Islamic State group that killed 147 people in Paris and surrounding areas in 2015 is that the show could become a terrorist target. Bomb-carrying drones are also a concern. “It’s a new threat,” Darmanin said.
The risk of spectators falling into the river
There are also concerns about crowd control and whether organizers can hire enough security guards.
“It’s very ambitious and it’s true that many experts are against it,” said Bertrand Cavallier, former head of France’s gendarmerie police training center, in a telephone interview. “The preparation of the body is very difficult.”
Among other problems, he pointed out the risk of spectators falling into the river or falling from the banks of the Seine to the toll booths below. The security protocol signed on Tuesday, however, stated that there will be a gap between the observers and the upper parapets, enough for security and rescue operations to pass through.
There is also the possibility of protests after regular and sometimes violent protests this year against pension reforms introduced by President Emmanuel Macron.
“There is a desire to present a very beautiful image of France. It is true that the Seine, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and everything else are very difficult. So, behind this is a great job of announcing the presentation of France. And there is also political politics. I think that President Macron wants to show leadership his,” said Cavallier. “But the risk is there.
“The idea is very attractive,” he added. “Realizing that it’s going to take a lot of work.”
Human rights activists have also declared that Olympic security could harm freedom. Critics have raised privacy concerns about the video surveillance technology that will be used in the experiment, including cameras and artificial intelligence software to identify potential security risks such as abandoned packages or crowds.
Officials are adding hundreds of cameras to areas that will host Olympic events. Critics argue that a staggered, long-running defense is often the fatal legacy of the Olympics.
The police are already investigating. Darmanin spoke of a “brutal, clean-up” campaign against crime in the areas where the Olympics are being held.
6.8 million tickets have been sold, organizers say
Paris Olympic organizers say they have sold 6.8 million of the 10 million tickets available 14 months before the opening ceremony and on Tuesday dismissed criticism that prices were too high.
Tony Estanguet, president of the organizing committee, said that the second phase of the ticket that ended last week exceeded expectations despite the fact that some fans, and runners, are complaining about the high prices.
The most expensive tickets are 2,700 euros ($2,900 US) for the opening ceremony, and the most expensive sports are the finals of athletics, swimming and basketball. The cheapest tickets are 24 euros ($26) and were quickly snapped up, leaving 200,000 cheaper seats available later and disappointing many buyers.
The main goal was to keep more tickets, said Estanguet, citing the 5.3 percent of tickets that cost 400 euros ($431) each ensuring that four million seats can be bought for 50 euros ($54) or less.
A total of 5.2 million tickets have been sold to the general public in the first two stages, with 1.6 million going to businesses and others.
In the second phase alone – by selling individual tickets and which saw four million people sign up for the drawing – a total of 1.89 million tickets were sold in 178 countries. Eighty of them went for 100 euros ($108) or less.
Football was the best seller, ahead of basketball and handball. Tickets for the triathlon, climbing, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle and breaking all sold out in less than two hours, organizers said.
The Paris Games, which run from July 26-Aug. 11, 2024, will have 32 sports and 48 disciplines on 37 sites. The Olympic Games will be held from Aug. 28-Sept. 8, with tickets on sale starting this fall.