France Struggling With Security Issues Ahead of Paris Olympics Inauguration

Emmanuel Macron, president of France, has said that the July 2024 Paris Olympics opening ceremony near the Seine River would be a beautiful, artistic, and value-filled occasion.  However, some warn that the extravagant athletic opening might be a nightmare for France’s security system.

Officials are worried that snipers and drones may target the Seine, a river that flows through the center of Paris. The French government is concerned about several issues, including the recent rise of Islamic State-affiliated organizations that were responsible for a tragic mass killing in Moscow and cyberattacks promoted by Russia.

Macron initially proposed relocating the Olympic opening ceremony from the Seine to a more traditional location earlier this month.

The plans have already been hampered by criminal activity.

Since February, laptop computers with sensitive Olympic security information have been stolen. It is unknown whether these thefts were random, and the prosecutor’s office said they were not targeted. The latest instance was a private firm employee of Thales who was not engaged in critical security-related tasks, but Thales is responsible for the security of the Olympic Games.

The anti-drone detection technologies and crowd management measures proposed by the French Defense Industry Organization (GICAT) to the French government were not implemented. GICAT said the government hasn’t implemented its security measures.  At this point, the group doesn’t know if they have enough time to fix these vulnerabilities.

For the Games, security needs will be split between state and private enterprises. Companies will deploy 22,000 private security agents to secure the sites, and 45,000 military and police forces will be mobilized for the surrounding areas.

Taxpayers in France are reportedly worried that they will have to pay for the Olympics’ security spending.

Public expenditure might wind up costing nearly €5 billion, according to Pierre Moscovici, head of the national audit court, who predicted in March that it could go beyond the original €3 billion estimate.

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the Sports Minister, informed legislators that she is unable to provide a specific amount for the Games’ security budget at this time.

French law enforcement officials were upset that the interior ministry ignored their concerns and neglected to include them in security briefings, according to Anthony Caillé, chairman of the CGT Police Union.