Less than half the original number is expected for the Games to open in July. Photo: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP
Paris has sharply cut its spending on the size of the crowd at the Olympic opening ceremony after a failed recruitment campaign left the municipal police with half the size needed.
Six months before the start of the Games, the Paris mayor's office is now relying on the municipal police. The police force has 2,000 officers instead of the 5,000 officers promised in 2020 by Anna Hidalgo, the Socialist Party mayor.
The opening came a week after the French government quietly announced it was reducing the number of spectators at the opening. The ceremony for the Olympic Games in Paris this July amid security and other organizational problems.
Two and a half years after the creation of the municipal police in the capital, “we now have 1,300 municipal police officers,” said Nicholas Nordman, deputy mayor for security.
And with “two more large groups,” training until the summer, the municipality will have “2,000 officers, the vast majority of them municipal police, mobilized for the Games,” he added.
Paris falls far short of its municipal police target of around 5,000 officers. Photo: AFP
During her 2020 election campaign, Ms. Hidalgo promised to create a municipal police force that would “have 5,000 officers by 2024.” But “we won’t be there because it’s hard to recruit there, like and everywhere in France,” Mr. Nordman said. “We will probably be around 3,500” (by 2026), Anne Hidalgo admitted in an interview with Ouest-France published on Monday.
While the City Council is “doing everything” to achieve its original goals, “we are currently unable to recruit municipal police officers,” Mr. Nordman acknowledged, citing “the issue of attractiveness of these positions” and “a lack of applicants.”
The confession came as hundreds of municipal police officers demonstrated across France last Saturday, demanding greater recognition and an end to them being seen as a “unit of police”.
France's interior ministry announced last month that its national police force, unlike those working at Paris city hall, would receive a one-off bonus of up to €1,900 (£1,620) as part of a major government pay deal designed to placate unions.
The Stade de France is being adapted for the July games. Photo: AFP
The officers did not want to be forced not to do this. took the summer holiday, like other public sector workers such as nurses and train drivers, and asked for a pay rise by going on a two-day strike.
Public sector workers, from security forces to nurses and driver trainers, are demanding extra pay for refusing holidays in July and August during the Games, when millions of visitors are expected across the country.
Far-left CGT union , which represents Paris Metro employees, also announced last month that it had given notice of possible strikes, including in the summer, as part of its efforts to secure higher wages and bonuses.
A total of about 35,000 security personnel are expected to be on duty every day during the Olympics from July 26 to August 11.
Millions of people are expected to flock to the City of Lights for the Games. The Paralympic Games will be held from August 28 to September 8.
Attendance estimates have been reduced from the original two million Photo: BENOIT TESSIER /REUTERS
After months of speculation about the number of people allowed to attend the opening ceremony, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced last week that the opening ceremony would be attended by “about 300,000 ticketed fans.”
That's half of that 600,000 that he expected. in 2022, which is even less than recent estimates of 400,000 to 500,000, highlighting the difficulty of securing an event more than four miles from the river.
“I know that we have the best security forces in the world and that we will be able to demonstrate not only that we can win medals (at the Olympics) but that we can compete comfortably around the world.” , Mr. Darmanin said at the conference. Channel France 2
The 300,000 figure does not include others “who live and will be able to rent accommodation for parties along the Seine,” Mr. Darmanin added, referring to the hundreds of buildings overlooking the famous waterway path.
The idea of a spectacular open-air parade featuring hundreds of boats has caused many in the French security services to break into cold sweats due to the difficulty of crowd control and the risk of terrorist attacks.< /p>Threat Alert
The organizers and the Paris mayor's office initially expected that up to two million people would attend the event. But one senior French security official recently told AFP that when planning the opening, organizers had “eyes bigger than their stomachs” and that their initial estimate of the crowd was “too high.”
France was put on alert high alert. for terrorist attacks in October after a suspected Islamist stormed a school in northern France and stabbed a teacher to death.
In another setback for Parisians, they were just told not to order parcel deliveries this summer.
Parisians were told this week to “as far as possible” to “order parcels in advance to ensure they are delivered”. before July 24, after September 8, or between the two Olympic Games, that is, between August 12 and 27,” the Ministry of Transport said.
If delivery will still take place during this period, the government asks people to “give preference for delivery during hours and days with less traffic,” “by bike or on foot,” or at pickup locations outside the security perimeter.
It has been a turbulent week for the Games after Paris Olympics chief organizer Tony Estanguet confirmed on Tuesday that French investigators had opened a forensic investigation into his salary.
An investigation is pending. to find out how Mr. Estangue is paid as the head of the organizing committee, following reports that he is using his own company to bill the organizing committee monthly instead of receiving a salary.
Mr. Estangue's annual compensation is 270,000 euros before taxes and bonuses.
His base salary is less than that of Sebastian Coe when he served as chief organizer of the London 2012 Olympics and received around £360,000 (€421,000) for the Games year, according to the organizing committee's annual report.
A committee spokesman said he was “surprised” by the investigation and denied that Mr. Estangue was paid as an outside consultant to avoid salary caps. placed for charitable purposes.
The statement said his salary “was set independently, in the absence of the President, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Compensation Committee,” composed of independent experts.< /p>
He added that he could pay Mr. Estangue whatever he wanted because “the profitable nature of his business, linked to his commercial income—partnerships, ticket sales and television rights—was confirmed by his tax ruling.” “.
Mr. Estanguet stated that he “does not make decisions about his remuneration or its structure.”