France Mobilises 100,000 Police and Soldiers in Paris Amid ‘Very High Terror Threat’ on New Year’s Eve

Police officers are seen in front of the Eiffel Tower during a large police operation arou
THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

France will mobilise nearly 100,000 police officers, gendarmes and soldiers to Paris on New Year’s Eve amid a “very high terrorist threat”, Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced.

Amid heightened security fears across Europe in the wake of the October 7th Hamas terror attacks on Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza against Islamist forces, Paris will see over 90,000 police officers and gendarmes, as well as some 5,000 soldiers patrolling its streets on New Year’s Eve.

The police will also be deploying helicopters and drones to monitor the crowds, and police have ramped up fireworks seizures by 45 per cent over last year.

Announcing the measure on Friday, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said according to Le Figaro that it was necessary to tighten security in the French capital in light of a “very high terrorist threat.”

In addition, the sale and consumption of alcohol will be banned in certain areas of the city during the holiday and New Year’s Eve festivities will shut down at 12:30 am, police prefect Laurent Nuñez said. The police boss went on to say that people will be searched by officers before entering restricted areas and that within the perimeter of the celebrations, shops will be prohibited from selling knives and other objects that could be used as weapons.

Paris, which will be launching preparations for the upcoming Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, is expected to see larger crowds attend than is typical, with over 1.5 million revellers set to descend upon the city to mark the new year. Between 700,000 and one million people are expected to gather along the Champs-Élysées avenue in central Paris on Sunday evening.

Protests have also been banned in Paris on New Year’s Eve, including a planned pro-Palestinian march after the leader of the centrist Les Républicains Éric Ciotti urged police to “ban this pro-Hamas rally… which represents a disturbance of public order!”.

The increased police presence in Paris amid the high threat of terrorism comes after France has experienced two major terror attacks following the outbreak of conflict in the Middle East, including the fatal stabbing of a teacher in Aras by a suspected Islamist illegal migrant as well as a stabbing spree in Paris earlier this month that left a German tourist dead and two other injured by a man who allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack near the Eiffel Tower.

France is not alone in facing elevated terror risks during the holidays, with police foiling a suspected Islamist plot to attack the Cologne Cathedral in Germany as well as St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria on Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

Earlier this month, European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson warned:  “With the war between Israel and Hamas, and the polarisation it causes in our society, with the upcoming holiday season, there is a huge risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union”.

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