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France deploys almost 100 000 security agents for Christmas

The French government, having already prolonged a state of emergency, has confirmed that some 91 000 police, military police, and soldiers will be on duty over the Christmas weekend due to the increased threat from terrorism.

Published: December 25, 2016, 4:41 am

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    Tens of thousands of armed police, gendarmes military police and soldiers will be deployed over the Christmas weekend as the government fears that security arrangements may not meet the current threat.

    “For the end of year festivities and notably the Christmas weekend there will be 91 000 members of the security forces deployed included members of the national police, national gendarmes and soldiers,” said Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux on Friday.

    Le Roux said the security plan was reevaluated each day.

    The minister was on a visit to Gare de Lyon in Paris, meeting with security agencies at the SNCF and RATP, the Paris transport authority, deployed at the station. “The threat is high and our response has never been stronger,” he said.

    “I wanted to come to Gare de Lyon because this station will see a huge rise in passengers today and tomorrow,” he said. “I wanted to show the perfect coordination between the hundreds of personnel on duty.”

    Authorities maintain it is impossible to protect all of the country’s 45 000 churches but some 2 400 have been placed under special protection as some 500 masses countrywide are set to begin soon.

    A Christmas market in the city of Metz was briefly evacuated after a suspicious car sparked a terror scare.

    The car reportedly contained a gas cylinder when it was discovered by police on Friday, raising fears that it could be a bomb.

    Police officers have since set up a cordon around the market, allowing only a few vehicles to enter the area.

    karin@praag.org

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