Terror cloud over Olympic opening ceremony plans

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With 100 days to go for the Paris Olympics opening ceremony, French President Emmanuel Macron has said in a TV interview that the much-hyped event on river Seine could even be scrapped, due to terror threats.

Given the existing global uncertainties, not just relating to Russia and Ukraine, but also between Israel and Iran, there is palpable tension. It is well known that Paris has planned a beautiful opening ceremony along the river Seine.

On Monday, in an interview, Macron spoke with confidence and assured the world there are other plans for the opening ceremony. Security is the main concern, and Macron has assured France will handle it well. It is well known, there is a threat to even Champions League matches in Europe from the ISIS, so the Olympics cannot take anything lightly.

According to estimates, 10,500 athletes from the participating nations will take part in a boat parade along the river. The 6 km boat ride will have along its way well-known places like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the Concorde. The climax is at Eiffel Tower.

Speaking to BFM-TV and RMC, French channels, Macron stressed that security operations would be raised to “exceptional level.” But the President was quick to add that the Games organisers could scrap the Seine opening plan if the security risk is perceived as high.

“This opening ceremony is a world first. We can do it and we are going to do it,” said Macron. “But if we think there are risks, depending on our analysis of the context, we have fallback scenarios.” He spoke of Plan B and Plan C as well, which means it is being kept under wraps.

“We are preparing them (Plan B and C) in parallel, we will do an analysis in real time,” added the President. Stade de France could be an option. Macron did assure the world that Paris and France would be safe. Replying to a caller on phone during the interview, he said: “If there is a place where your son will be safe, it’s there. We will screen all the people who enter and leave,” said Macron.

Just to jog the readers’ memory, Champions League matches across Europe received terror threats from ISIS recently. One also cannot forget the 1972 Munich Olympics, when a Palestine militant organisation entered the Olympic village, killed two Israeli athletes and took nine as hostage. This was during the second week of the Munich Olympics.

Again, Israel and Palestine have been at war and there is tension all over. However, for France to speak and assure the world is a positive sign, with just 100 days to go before the Games.

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