The opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics may be moved from the Seine River if the security risk is too great, according to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Instead of covering the entire intended stretch of the river, Mr. Macron suggested that it may be “limited to the Trocadéro,” which is the area across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. It may even be moved to the Stade de France, he continued, returning it to an usual ritual.

It is planned to be the first opening ceremony to take place outside of a stadium. On about 160 barges, almost 10,000 athletes are anticipated to ride a 6 km stretch of the Seine River. The number of spectators from riverbanks who were originally expected to attend the ceremony—roughly 600,000—has been reduced to 300,000.

Macron’s Idea

More so, it has already been announced that, contrary to initial plans, tourists will not be allowed free entry to attend the ceremony. Rather than through open registration, tickets will be distributed only by invitation.

“This opening ceremony… is a world first. We can do it and we are going to do it,” Mr Macron stated. However, he revealed for the first time that backup plans also existed.

“There are plan Bs and plan Cs… We are preparing them in parallel, we will analyse this in real-time,” the President added. 

Following the threats made by the Islamic State group (IS) to the Champions League quarter-final football matches in Paris, Madrid, and London, security worries have increased. Concerns have also been raised about how the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine can heighten the threat to national security, with French officials raising the possibility of a drone strike.

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Mr. Macron added that he will do whatever he can to reach an agreement on an Olympic truce. 

“We want to work towards an Olympic truce and I think it is an occasion for me to engage with a lot of our partners,” he said. 

The Olympic competition is scheduled from July 26 to August 11. The Paralympic Games will take place from August 28 to September 8 afterwards.

Cover Photo: YouTube

Source: BBC

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