Paris checks Olympics readiness with Opening Ceremonies rehearsal on Seine | EUROtoday

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PARIS — The plan to stage the primary Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies exterior the confines of a stadium was put to the check Monday, with a technical rehearsal involving a parade of 55 boats alongside the Seine River.

Thierry Reboul, director of ceremonies for the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee, stated the check run was successful. “The boats and their captains have improved a lot,” Reboul stated. The major goal on Monday was to guarantee that boats comply with the ceremonies’ schedule exactly. Another rehearsal with a bigger fleet is predicted to happen early subsequent week.

The July 26 ceremonies current each logistical and safety challenges. Officials canceled scheduled rehearsals in April and May, saying heavy rains had made the water too excessive.

Extensive rain may have an effect on contamination ranges within the river. Paris officers have been working to get the Seine clear sufficient to function a venue for Olympic triathlon and marathon swimming. But check outcomes revealed Friday by metropolis and regional officers confirmed E. coli in extra of safe-swimming thresholds.

Monday’s rehearsal was guarded by a heavy police presence on the riverbanks. Police boats sped alongside the Seine. But few spectators adopted the low-key check run, which didn’t look too totally different from an unusual day. The parade will embody unusual vacationer boats that may often be sighted on the Seine.

Anne Fitzgerald, a Paris resident, stated watching the apply run nonetheless felt particular to her. “It’s absolutely fantastic,” she stated. Up till now, “it’s just been controversy, and talk, and complaining, and now all of a sudden we’re seeing this rehearsal and it puts you in the spirit of what it will be on the day.”

Fitzgerald stated the burden of the preparations is more and more being felt by locals, as roads and bridges are being closed for the development of stands and for security. But a minimum of for her, the advantages of getting the prospect to dwell the Olympic Games outweigh the negatives.

“It’s almost like I’m seeing the Opening Ceremony without seeing the Opening Ceremony,” she stated, including that buying a ticket for the precise occasion would have been too costly. It’ll be far more spectacular “than doing it in a stadium,” she stated.

The precise Opening Ceremonies are alleged to be extra elaborate than Monday’s trial run, with as much as 180 boats, 10,000 athletes and 326,000 spectators watching from the riverbanks. The plan is for the floating parade to cowl greater than 3½ miles via central Paris, from Austerlitz Bridge to the Eiffel Tower. USA Gymnastics CEO Li Li Leung stated she anticipated the crew’s athletes could be discouraged from attending, because the ceremonies would require them to be on their toes for 9 hours.

French officers say safety might be tight, with 45,000 cops and 18,000 troopers supported by 22,000 personal contractors — although leaders within the personal sector have raised considerations a few potential shortfall of certified contractors.

The high precedence might be to stop a large-scale terrorist assault, just like the coordinated suicide bombings and shootings that killed 130 individuals throughout Paris in 2015, or the truck that plowed right into a crowd in Nice, killing 86 individuals in 2016. French officers are additionally delicate to the necessity to keep away from a harmful crowd crush.

The Interior Ministry stated final month that it had arrested an 18-year-old from Chechnya on suspicion of planning to assault spectators and police at Olympic soccer matches within the French metropolis of Saint-Etienne. And this month, an internet site linked to the Islamic State appeared to encourage “lone wolves” to hold out assaults, with a picture of a drone being directed on the Eiffel Tower.

While militant teams could also be accountable for a few of the threats, Microsoft’s menace evaluation heart reported {that a} Russian disinformation marketing campaign can be looking for to discredit the Paris Olympics and promote the notion that violence will get away.

Security considerations have clashed with France’s “Games Wide Open” pledge. Originally, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin stated greater than half one million spectators would be capable of attend the Opening Ceremonies — 100,000 ticket holders on the riverbanks and 500,000 followers watching without spending a dime from higher platforms. But he has decreased the overall by half, with 104,000 reserved spots for paying followers and 220,000 free tickets earmarked for chosen residents of Paris and different French cities internet hosting Olympic occasions.

The modifications replicate “the need to make it the most popular ceremony that we can, while managing all the details on the security and the safety side,” French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra advised The Washington Post.

Officials say they nonetheless anticipate report attendance. Previous data have hovered close to the 100,000 mark.

President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged that there’s a Plan B in case main safety considerations emerge within the days main as much as the ceremonies. The ceremonies might be contained throughout the Trocadero Square, which faces the Eiffel Tower, or they might be moved to the Stade de France stadium on the outskirts of town.

Oudéa-Castéra on Monday stated organizers proceed to give attention to Plan A. “There is no reason to change course,” she stated.

Particularly shut consideration might be paid to the Israeli delegation, which can face its greatest dangers because the 1972 Munich Games, when 11 Israeli athletes and coaches had been killed in an assault by members of a Palestinian militant group.

Parisians dwelling or working close to the riverbanks in central Paris are among the many 1 million individuals who could have gone via a safety screening by late July, French officers say. In latest weeks, French police have practiced for potential emergencies and searched the huge community of catacombs beneath the French capital, which is linked to the Seine.

Olympic organizers have sought to reassure the general public that the not too long ago introduced French elections and a possible change in authorities after July 7 received’t hinder plans for the Games. Jordan Bardella, who stands an opportunity of changing into prime minister if his far-right social gathering posts a sufficiently big win, stated he wouldn’t make any modifications which may have an effect on the Olympics. “This event must be a great success for the Nation,” he posted on X.