France vowed “extremely high” security in Paris for Sunday’s Euro 2016 finals between the hosts and Portugal, with more than 5,000 policemen on patrol as hundreds of thousands of fans gather in the city for the game. The European Championship is the biggest international soccer tournament in the continent, and the final game is being held at Stade de France — one of the venues attacked by terrorists in Paris last year.
Security forces have been on alert in the capital since last November’s attacks in which Jihadi gunmen and suicide bombers attacked a number of venues, killing 130 people. A Portuguese soccer fan — Manuel Colaco Dias — was the only casualty at the Stade de France, Goal.com reported.
Three key venues are reportedly being given additional security — the stadium, the 92,000-capacity fan zone near the Eiffel Tower, and the Champs-Elysees boulevard, which is expected to be flooded by fans post the game.
Mathias Vicherat, the Paris mayor’s chief of staff, said some 1,900 police and other security officers would patrol the fan zone, while the city’s police chief Michel Cadot said 3,400 officers would patrol the Champs-Elysees, some of them redeployed from the stadium after the finals kick off, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
“We have the extremely favorable ratio of one officer for fewer than 50 spectators. So it is an extremely high standard,” said Vicherat.
More than one million people celebrated France’s 1998 World Cup victory on Champs Elysees. However, BBC quoted officials as saying that there will be no victory parade there in the event of a French win this time because of security concerns.
Cadot said that the extreme security levels were in place because Paris was still under “a general terrorist threat.”
Acknowledging their hard work, tournament organizer UEFA paid tribute to the French security forces in the 50 games played in 10 host cities.
“We owe a great debt of thanks to the French people, to the French president, François Hollande, to the French government, the host cities, and the French police and armed forces, who have done such a marvelous job of ensuring the safety of the millions of fans who have come from all over Europe to attend this tournament,” UEFA Senior Vice President Angel Maria Villar said Saturday, according to AP.
Other than hooligan violence in the initial stages of the tournament, there have been no major security threats at the tournament that concludes with the finals Sunday night.