Vowing to show that sports “will not yield” to terrorism, French President Francois Hollande said that 3,000 additional people have been hired by private security firms to ensure safety at the European Championship soccer tournament in June.
Attacks in Brussels left at least 35 dead last month and a soccer game in Paris was the target of attacks in that city last fall. But France is proceeding with Euro 2016, which will run June 10 through July 10. Included in the planning are zones at which fans can congregate to watch the tournament on big screens.
“We must show that sport, like culture, like our lifestyle, will not yield to this pressure and this threat,” Hollande said (via the Associated Press) in a speech to sports professionals in Paris.
The tournament is expected to attract 2.5 million fans at games in 10 cities across France. An additional 5 million people are expected to watch matches on big screens in open-air spots. Security measures will include systematic pat-downs at fan zones, the use of metal detectors, mine-clearing services and video surveillance in zones.
“Never before has an event of this magnitude been monitored and secured at this level,” France’s sports minister, Patrick Kanner, said last week during a Euro 2016 steering committee meeting. “The image of France is at stake, our ability to host events of this magnitude with seriousness, composure and determination.”