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French Police Heighten Security Measures for 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Amid Threats

Paris, January 22, 2024, The Europe Today: French police will maintain high alert levels along the route of the 2024 Olympic torch relay, as announced by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Monday. Approximately 100 officers will form a security bubble around torchbearers, complemented by anti-drone measures to ensure a secure relay.

The Olympic flame, set to arrive in Marseille from Greece on May 8, is expected to draw around 150,000 spectators for the ceremony in the city’s Old Port before embarking on the French leg of the relay.

Addressing the press, Minister Darmanin emphasized the significant “terrorist and protest threat” associated with the relay, pointing to potential risks from “far left environmental activists” and “radical Islamists.” The heightened security measures reflect the ministry’s acknowledgment of the relay’s susceptibility to malicious acts due to extensive media attention.

Darmanin revealed that an exhaustive background check on all 11,000 torchbearers and 1,000 replacements resulted in the exclusion of 13 individuals from the relay.

The Olympic flame, lit in a ceremony at Greece’s ancient Olympia on April 16, will undergo a short relay in Greece before its journey to Paris, the host city. A three-masted ship, the “Belem,” will transport the torch to Marseille, where Olympic sailing competitions are scheduled.

As the torch passes through Paris on July 14 and 15, and during the opening ceremony on July 26, approximately 18,000 police officers will be on duty. In Marseille, around 5,000 police officers will be deployed for security when the torch arrives.

Despite ongoing discussions with police unions, Darmanin confirmed that the ministry is offering a bonus ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 euros, amidst tensions with officers demanding a 2,000-euro Olympic bonus and improved working conditions.