Security Pumped Up at Cannes Film Festival After Charlie Hebdo Shootings

REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

“When Cannes rolls out the red carpet May 13, it will also be on red alert,” quips The Hollywood Reporter. Security will be greatly heightened at the legendary film festival, not due to any specific threat, but because of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, and what the Reporter confusingly describes as “a subsequent series of several smaller attacks against religious targets.”

Charlie Hebdo magazine was not a “religious target”—it was the target of a religion. It is surprising The Hollywood Reporter came as close as it did to admitting that.

France is at “the highest level of security at public events or in public spaces,” security expert Jean-Charles Brisard told THR. He explained that the celebrities who fly in for Cannes “are very sensitive potential targets, so security will be higher than at any other event during the year.”

Precautionary measures will include a 400-member SWAT team reinforcing municipal police, all local officers required to report for duty, four companies of reserve officers standing by, plainclothes detectives mixed into the crowd, 400 armed private security guards on top of the police presence, counter-intelligence officials monitoring social media for chatter from demonstrators or terrorists, and a total of 465 closed-circuit TV cameras keeping a watchful electronic eye on the proceedings. Cannes now boasts one security camera for every 152 residents.

Adding to security officials’s headaches, a gang of notorious jewel thieves is in town, pulling off a $19 million heist at Cartier’s on the Croisette strip last week, according to an AFP report. They’ll have to bring their larcenous “A” game to beat the guy who got away with lifting over $150 million in jewels back in 2013… from the hotel where Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief was set.