France On Red Alert As Euro 2016 Kicks Off Friday | Independent Newspapers Limited
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France On Red Alert As Euro 2016 Kicks Off Friday

Posted: Jun 9, 2016 at 3:55 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


France has put on unprecedented security operations as the 15th European Football Championships begin on Friday, the largest-ever and the most anxious.

No previous edition of the continental cup, and perhaps no other major sporting event, has had to contend with the security challenges that provide the inescapable backdrop to what was supposed to be a month of football.

The hosts will kick-off against Romania tomorrow night in the same national stadium attacked by three suicide bombers last November, and with the nation under an extended state of emergency.

The Stade de France attack was the beginning of the November 13, 2015, attacks and though the least deadly, a Portuguese bus driver was the only person among 130 killed that day to die at the stadium, it has shaped preparations.

They are also a security nightmare, a soft-target for terrorists who have demonstrated their capacity more than once in Europe in the last 18 months.

So preparations are in place, with police and army personnel numbering 90,000 on duty.

About the security personnel, former police commando chief Frederic Gallois told Sky News: “The problem is not numbers. There are enough of them, but they are tired and stressed.

“They have been operating at the highest level for 18 months. The problem may not be the big event, but how they react to the small event.”