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Macron: Paris Olympic opening on Seine may move due to security

NEW YORK (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said the opening ceremony for the Paris Olympics planned on the River Seine could be shifted instead to the Stade de France if the security threat is deemed too high.

Speaking to French media BFM-TV and RMC, Macron said France’s law enforcement forces will be mobilised at an exceptional level for the security of the open-air event.

“But if we think there are risks, depending on our analysis of the context, we have fallback scenarios,” Macron said. “There are plan Bs and plan Cs.”

The July 26 event is set to be the first Olympic opening ceremony held outside a stadium setting. About 10,500 athletes will parade through the heart of the French capital on boats on the Seine along a 6-kilometre route.

To limit security risks, Macron said organisers could decide to shorten the itinerary of the parade on the Seine, and even to “repatriate the ceremony to the Stade de France” for a more conventional opening event.

Organisers had originally planned a grandiose opening ceremony for as many as 600,000 people, most watching free of charge from riverbanks. But security and logistical concerns have led the government to progressively scale back its ambitions. Earlier this year, the overall number of spectators was reduced to around 300,000.

The French government also decided that tourists won’t be given free access to watch the opening ceremony because of security concerns. Free access will be invitation-only instead.

A person takes samples of water of the Seine river before a quality test in Paris. PHOTO: AP
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