June 5, 2023
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The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, did not give a precise figure on Tuesday concerning the maximum number of spectators who will be able to attend the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics next year free of charge, citing “several hundred thousand of people”.

This ceremony will start at 8:24 p.m. on July 26, 2024, and will have the unique feature of taking place outdoors on the Seine.

On the lower quays of the river, 100,000 people will be able to attend, by paying their place, under the responsibility of the organizing committee.

On the high quays, access will be free. Initially, the figure of 500,000 had been given, or 600,000 spectators in total. Behind the scenes, several political and police sources had reported to AFP the figure of 400,000 free spectators.

The LR president of the Ile-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse, asked for a drop in this gauge, fearing that transport could not absorb the world.

Asked about this figure on the occasion of the signing of a security protocol on the ceremony, Mr. Darmanin replied “several hundred thousand people”.

“It will depend on the time, on the publicity you make of it,” he added.

The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, mentioned last week a figure “around 400,000”.

Discussions have been tense for several months between the town hall, the organizing committee and the State.

Mr. Darmanin indicated that spectators wishing to attend the ceremony free of charge will have to register on a ticket office which will be managed by the Ministry of the Interior, which will also “finance” it.

The State signed Tuesday with the organizing committee and the town hall of Paris a protocol especially for the ceremony.

Asked about the overall cost of securing the Olympics for the State, Mr. Darmanin indicated “200 million euros”. The ceremony will last “three hours”, further specified Gérald Darmanin alongside Tony Estanguet, with a “river parade”, “an artistic spectacle, and a formal ceremony”.

One hundred and fifteen boats will parade over six kilometers of the river.

Regarding the security forces, he reiterated that 35,000 agents would be mobilized, and specified that 400 additional cameras would be installed in Paris to reach 4,400. He also said that “one million euros” was intended for cameras in Saint-Denis.

Some 2,800 peacekeepers will be assigned by 2024 in the Paris area and the minister announced on Tuesday that he was adding “5 units of mobile forces” to the prefect of police “at the end of this month of August”.

“An artistic challenge and an organizational challenge”, summed up the PS mayor Anne Hidalgo, present at this signing at the Ministry of the Interior.

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