Days to Euro 2016 kick off, France is armed and security measures have been stepped up. At tourist sites, on transports, in shopping centres, fan zones and of course stadiums, monitoring has been strengthened.
In Paris, 1,200 additional soldiers have been deployed with over 3,000 policemen. That is in addition to the 10,000 troops already taking part in Operation Sentinel – the round-the-clock anti-terror patrols mounted following the terrorist attacks in January 2015.
“It’s a threat that exists, and I wouldn’t be in this position as president if I didn’t tell you very clearly that there is a threat. It’s a threat that will be around for a long time. So we must take every precaution to ensure this tournament, Euro 2016 will be a success. And it will be,” French President Francois Hollande said.
The Stade de France, with a capacity of 80,000 will have between 950 and 1,100 police officers and almost 1300 private security guards on duty. There will be eight pre-screening points and six entrances.
Each site will have a command centre to centralise the security operation and connect police and emergency personnel. That will include police snipers and squads of riot officers who will stand by in armoured vehicles.
At the stadiums, there will be reinforced security at the fan zones where supporters can gather to watch the matches on giant screens.Four matches will be played in Nice with the fan zone in sight of the Mediterranean.
“The supporters who will take part in this fan zone will enter through the first enclosed area where there will be a bag deposit service with metal detectors in place. To get into the fan zone everyone will have to pass through a security area similar to what we have in airports in France or in certain train stations,“ Jean-Louis Truglo, Director of Nice Municipal Police told reporters.
At the Parc des Princes in Paris, there are 25 pre-screening points and five entrances to the stadium. A potential threat from the air has not been forgotten with innovative measures for a football tournament being introduced.
“There will be a no fly zone declared above every training ground, above each stadium which is involved and we are going to deploy with the state, during most of the matches in the stadiums, anti-drone technology which is quite innovative and enables us to interfere with and take control of any drones if any are detected,” Ziad Khoury, Head of Safety and Security at UEFA Euro 2016 said.
At the fan zone on the Champ-de-Mars close to the Eiffel Tower where up to 90,000 supporters will be watching the matches, fans will go through 16 pre-screening points before using six entry points.
Thousands of police will be on duty.