Citing ‘very high’ terror threat, France to boost security for New Year’s festivities

French police officers patrol in front of the Arc de Triomphe in the Champs Elysees area of Paris on July 1, 2023. (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
French police officers patrol in front of the Arc de Triomphe in the Champs Elysees area of Paris on July 1, 2023. (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

PARIS — Security will be tight across France on New Year’s Eve, with 90,000 law enforcement officers set to be deployed, domestic intelligence chief Céline Berthon says today.

Of those, 6,000 will be in Paris, where French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says over 1.5 million people are expected to attend celebrations on the Champs-Elysees.

Speaking at a press conference, Darmanin cites a “very high terrorist threat” because, in part, of “what is happening in Israel and Palestine,” referring to the Israel-Hamas war.

Darmanin says that police for the first time will be able to use drones as part of security work, and that tens of thousands of firefighters and 5,000 soldiers would also be deployed.

New Year’s Eve celebrations in Paris will center on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, including DJ sets, fireworks and video projections on the Arc de Triomphe.

The security challenge ahead of the Olympics was highlighted when a tourist was killed in a knife attack near the Eiffel Tower on December 2. Large-scale attacks — such as that at the Bataclan in 2015, when Islamic extremists invaded the music hall and shot up cafe terraces, killing 130 people — also loom in memory.

The knife attack raised concern in France and abroad about security for the Games that begin July 26, in just under seven months. But law enforcement officials appear eager to show off a security-ready Paris.

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