Filtering points, the use of camcorders, and even a car-ram device were on stand-by, as 300 000 people gathered on the Champs-Élysées on Tuesday evening. Some 100 000 police and gendarmes were mobilized in France, a number equivalent to that of last year.
According to French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, there remains a “high level of permanent risk […]”, in matters of terrorism, but “there was no particular threat” on December 31.
The minister visited the Champs-Élysées to review the police force in charge of supervising New Years Eve. The police system was “reinforced by the presence of soldiers and firefighters” throughout the territory, he said, adding: “We will be present in road safety and controls […], we will be fully mobilized.”
In Paris, the nerve center of the evening was the Champs-Élysées, where 300 000 people – mostly tourists – celebrated the start of a new decade.
In order to secure the premises, the capital hosted the reinforcement of CRS companies from 12 departments. Last year, between 8 000 and 10 000 law enforcement officers were deployed to Paris.
A note from the Paris prefecture, which French daily Le Parisien was able to consult, revealed that mobile patrols as well as surveillance posts were set up. In addition to video surveillance, the police headquarters equipped some of its agents from intervention companies with camcorders, in order to collect evidence in the event of an offense committed in the capital. A group had been specially created to use these images, at night, if necessary.
In the sights of the police were disruptive individuals, pickpockets, attackers, but also street vendors, with foreclosures planned in the event of an arrest. Officials were also responsible for confiscating glass bottles on the Champs-Élysées.
Unlike last year, no gathering of Yellow Vests were called for on social networks, for the beginning of 2020. But police expected some opponents of the pension reform to show their disagreement by coming together in the evening.
Christophe Castaner said on Monday that he did not expect “the risks of union action”, adding: “We cannot foresee everything but we must prepare for everything.”
Macron’s New Year’s wishes broadcast nationally, angered the opposition. While the President of the Republic assured his people that he would maintain his pension reform, the main opposition leaders unanimously condemned his remarks.
As soon as Emmanuel Macron’s speech ended, the majority of opposition party leaders castigated his intervention. Partly at issue, was his announced desire to “bring the pension reform to a conclusion” .
Jean-Luc Mélenchon was the most outspoken. “These are not wishes but a declaration of war on the millions of French people who refuse his reform. Everything else in his speech sounds false and hollow. An alien has spoken,” said the boss of LFI on Twitter.
Marine Le Pen expressed her boredom: “Once again … nothing.” Her former companion Louis Aliot, also contented himself with a simple “Macron 2020 Wishes: 0 + 0 = 0” .
As for the National Rally, MEP Jordan Bardella followed in the footsteps of his president. “There is nothing in these wishes from Emmanuel Hollande … It is appalling,” he tweeted, comparing Macron with former unpopular President Francois Hollande.
Florian Philippot noted: “Macron is from Holland. He recites his campaign breviary but no one believes it anymore!”
The Republicans were more talkative. This was particularly the case for the member for Bouches-du-Rhône Valérie Boyer. “Days of taunting to hear the wishes of a candidate president who forgets to talk about the exploding debt, of the women who will be victims of the pension reform, of the bludgeoned families. In 2020, nothing will change, neither in substance nor in form,” she said.
MEP Nadine Morano cited the same reasons, criticizing a “self-satisfaction report” from the country’s leader. “French, I did not understand you, I will force through a badly prepared retirement reform, in any case future generations are already weighed down by debt which exceeds 100 percent of GDP since I have been there … I am happy and I love you,” she said mockingly, pretending to be the president.
The president of Debout la France Nicolas Dupont-Aignan also gave his view. “Emmanuel Macron gave the most self-satisfied and hypocritical wishes ever heard! He dares to talk about social justice when he wants to demolish our pension system. He dares to speak of national unity while he keeps pitting the French against each other,” he said.
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