France To Mobilize A Whole Army Of Police

Russ Read | Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

France will mobilize 86,000 security officers ahead of Friday’s Bastille Day celebrations, according to the French Interior Ministry.

In addition to the police, 7,000 soldiers will be activated as part of France’s ongoing Operation Sentinel, which was undertaken in 2015 after terrorist attacks rocked the country. Approximately 44,000 firefighters will also be deployed. The massive mobilization is intended to ensure the safety of revelers and tourists as France prepares to celebrate its national day, according to a ministry statement released Wednesday.

The additional forces will be concentrated around festivities, parties, demonstrations and other areas with a high concentration of tourists. Special attention will be paid to public terminals. Measures have been taken to limit spillover from any potential violence.

Minister of the Interior Gerard Collomb gave “specific directives” to local government officials to ensure Bastille Day and other summer seasonal celebrations are safe.

Paris will see an especially high number of deployed police and soldiers in preparation for a military parade on the Champs-Élysées. Approximately 11,000 local and federal police will be deployed for the event. President Donald Trump is expected to be in attendance for the parade.

Nice, which suffered a particularly deadly terrorist attack during last year’s Bastille Day celebrations, will also see increased security as the city prepares to commemorate the first anniversary of the attack. Nearly 1,200 security forces will be deployed to the city.

France has been under an official state of emergency since the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015. Parliament extended the state of emergency for the sixth time last Thursday, keeping it in place until at least November. It is currently the longest uninterrupted state of emergency the country has seen since the Algerian War in the 1960s.

French President Emmanuel Macron told parliament Monday that he plans to replace the state of emergency with a new counter-terrorism law. It will “explicitly target terrorists to the exclusion of all other Frenchmen,” according to Macron, who promised the law will respect “traditions of freedom.”

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