The 2024 summer season Olympics in Paris will mark the primary time a gap ceremony has not been held inside a stadium – as an alternative, the extravaganza will unfold alongside the River Seine, with spectators lining streets and bridges within the coronary heart of the French capital. The plan just isn’t with out dangers, and organisers revealed in depth security protocols on Tuesday.
The Olympics opening ceremony will start at 8:24pm on July 26, when the primary boat – carrying the Greek delegation – emerges onto the River Seine from the jap a part of the capital. The vessel will lead a flotilla of boats carrying the athletes taking part within the Video games 6 kilometres west by the center of the French capital, previous well-known landmarks and crowds of spectators.
The final boat, carrying the French delegation, will arrive at 11:50pm on the Eiffel Tower, the place athletes and different spectators will witness the creative and musical spectacular of the official ceremony together with the lighting of the Olympic flame.
Olympic host international locations usually use the opening ceremony to highlight their nationwide tradition for a worldwide viewers, normally by tune and dance. However the organisers of the 2024 video games have added a twist by declining to host the occasion in a stadium with a purpose to make town of Paris itself the star of the present.
“It is the largest viewers that France will ever have had, essentially the most stunning showcase,” mentioned organising committee president Tony Estanguet at a press convention on Tuesday. “Our accountability is to create desires, to indicate how unbelievable this nation is.”
“The open and public character of this ceremony will allow a whole bunch of hundreds of individuals to see it free of charge,” added Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
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However each the size and open staging of the occasion pose distinctive logistical and safety challenges.
Organisers have promised the ceremony shall be “the largest ever held within the historical past of the Video games”, and the numbers are colossal: Some 10,500 athletes, 100,000 paying friends, as much as 400,000 free-ticket holders and 200 heads of state are set to attend. Reside broadcasts shall be proven on 80 large screens and in depth sound methods shall be erected within the capital.
Inside Minister Gérald Darmanin joined Estanguet and Mayor Hidalgo on Tuesday to element an 11-page safety protocol aimed toward shielding the occasion from the threats of terrorism, drone assaults and different dangers.
One of many greatest safety bulletins was that attendees wanting to assert one of many a whole bunch of hundreds of free tickets should join upfront on a ticketing platform arrange by France’s inside ministry. Darmanin mentioned the instrument would “be indispensable for regulating all [crowd] flows for vacationers and Parisians”.
Free-ticket holders will have entry to considered one of 20 zones alongside the river’s higher embankments, separated from friends paying for a better, waterside view. They won’t have entry to bridges, which shall be reserved for logistics, sound and lighting gear, emergency providers and safety, and paid ticket holders.
Ticket costs for the opening ceremony ran as excessive as €2,700 throughout the newest ticket sale on Might 11. Athletes and others have already decried the excessive costs of tickets to the competitions, which run from €24 to €980 for semi-final occasions.
>> Learn extra: Athletes slam Paris 2024 Olympics over exorbitant ticket costs
The safety protocol addressed acute issues that the present may be a goal for terrorism, in addition to the potential for protests after the sustained and generally violent demonstrations this yr in opposition to pension reforms pushed by President Emmanuel Macron.
Bomb-carrying drones are additionally a fear. “It is a completely new menace,” Darmanin mentioned. “It isn’t sure that something will occur however it’s actually essentially the most troublesome to arrange for.”
Plans embody an unprecedented deployment of 35,000 cops within the French capital for the opening ceremony. (For comparability, the London police power deployed practically 13,000 cops for its largest-ever safety operation, the coronation of King Charles.)
Some 2,000-3,000 safety brokers from non-public companies shall be even be referred to as upon, with stepped-up screening procedures for hiring.
“We shall be, by way of safety, extraordinarily demanding relating to those that shall be on the decrease and better quays [of the river] or to the stadiums, together with non-public safety brokers,” Darmanin mentioned.
An additional 400 safety cameras may also be put in on Paris streets forward of the occasion, bringing the whole to 4,400.
Critics have already raised privateness issues about video surveillance expertise that shall be used in the course of the Video games in Paris on an experimental foundation, combining cameras with synthetic intelligence software program to flag potential safety dangers similar to deserted packages or crowd surges.
Darmanin on Tuesday defended the measures, saying that every one safety efforts put in place “had a standard goal: that the expertise for spectators shall be nearly as good as doable”.
As plans solidify for the ceremony – now solely 14 months away – bulletins this week point out some makes an attempt to downsize the occasion. Earlier bulletins put the variety of free tickets at 500,000, versus the “roughly” 300,000 – 400,000 advised by the sports activities minister overseeing the Olympics, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, on Sunday.
Darmanin on Tuesday mentioned “a whole bunch of hundreds” of free tickets can be accessible.
There stay questions over a recruitment shortfall for privately employed safety brokers and what number of boats will be part of the flotilla. French media have quoting figures between 90-170 vessels. However “there are questions over what number of delegations will refuse to affix the parade in addition to which delegations will settle for sharing boats”, a member of the organising committee advised French sports activities media web site RMC Sport.
Tuesday’s security protocol specifies there shall be 30 safety boats and 25 different craft in reserve in case of breakdowns or different wants.
A partial trial run for the flotilla, with out passengers, will happen on July 17, with extra exams deliberate for spring 2024. Within the week earlier than the occasion, two days of rehearsals on the river have been deliberate.
And new air defence applied sciences to counter potential drone assaults shall be trialled later this yr when France hosts the Rugby World Cup.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)