By: Gyang Dakwo
France is prepared to move the 2024 Olympic opening ceremony from the River Seine to another location should the security situation require it, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.
“Given we’re professionals, there obviously is a Plan B, Plan C, et cetera,” Macron told France 5 television when asked if the security situation – currently marked by heightened alert across Europe over tensions in the Middle East – could thwart plans to hold the ceremony as planned.
Macron said he was against “doomsaying” and changing plans hastily, but added a Plan B could be triggered if “the level of insecurity requires us to revisit the initial scheme” without providing details.
European security officials have warned of a growing risk of attacks by Islamist militants amid the Israel-Hamas war, with the biggest threat likely from “lone wolf” assailants who are hard to track. France raised its security threshold in October, when a man with a knife killed a teacher in a school in northern France.
Earlier this month, the country’s sports minister ruled out a change of plans after a man armed with a knife and hammer killed a German tourist and left two people wounded near the Eiffel Tower, saying “this not something we’re working with.”
France expects some 600,000 visitors when 160 boats are due to set off on July 26 from the Pont d’Austerlitz for a 6-kilometre (3.7-mile) journey to the Pont d’Iena, a bridge in Paris.