France’s mayors voice Games concerns

France's mayors voice Games concerns

MAIDER AROSTEGUY: Biarritz mayor predicts police shortage this summer Photo credit: Maider Arosteguy

Local authorities in France fear that too many of their police officers will be seconded to Paris for the Olympic Games.

Jean-Paul Fournier, mayor of Nimes, said on April 15 that he was relieved the Pentecost Feria held between May 16 and 20 fell early this year .

Cancelling the Feria, which will attract a million visitors would have had an adverse effect on the local economy, he told local newspaper, Objectif Gard, although Fournier added that he was more concerned about the Nimes Festival concerts in July, when almost 40 per cent of the Nimes police would be in or around Paris.

The Gard area authorities questioned the Nimes figures, maintaining that “on average” 15 per cent of the area’s police, and 18 per cent of Nimes’ total, would be involved in the Games which begin on July 26.

Fournier’s concerns are repeated throughout the country and, above all, in coastal areas which cannot count on State Security Police (CRS) officers to patrol their beaches.

In Biarritz, mayor Maider Arosteguy announced that the town had decided to cancel the traditional July 14 fireworks display, which has been moved to August 15.

Arosteguy also pointed out that a great many Parisians will leave Paris during the Games and the resort could be swamped at a time when it was short of police.

The Ministry of the Interior, headed by Gerald Darmanin,  countered  complaints from local and regional authorities by explaining that there will be no summer holidays for police forces this year.

“Officers will be 100 per cent on duty,” a spokesperson said.  “Although some will be called on for the Olympics, there will be more, or as many, as at normal times.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.

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