Paris plans subdued new year celebrations after terror attacks

French capital still on high alert after November 13th attacks by Islamic State jihadis

A soldier on guard  on the  Champs-Elysees in Paris, France,  December 30th, 2015, ahead of what will be subdued new year celebrations in the French capital. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

A soldier on guard on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, December 30th, 2015, ahead of what will be subdued new year celebrations in the French capital. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

 

Authorities in Paris, with an eye to security following the November attacks by armed militants, are shortening a new year video light spectacular at the Arc de Triomphe at midnight on Thursday and cancelling a firework display to reduce crowd levels.

About 11,000 soldiers, police and emergency workers will be deployed - 2,000 more than last year - during subdued celebrations, the official city website said, while there would be restrictions on alcohol sales.

The French capital remains on high alert since the November 13th shootings and suicide bombings by Islamic State militants, which killed 130 people.

‘Atmosphere of sobriety’

“We have decided to mark the new year in an atmosphere of sobriety and togetherness,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on an official city website.

Fireworks are not a traditional part of the celebrations, but they were part of a new year frenzy a year ago on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, the capital’s most famous thoroughfare.

“Tourists and residents alike will as usual be able to meet on what we know as the most beautiful avenue in the world, but this year, sobriety is here. There won’t be a big show, and the fireworks are cancelled,” the site said.

The sale and use of fireworks in the Paris region will be banned for the night, police said, as well as takeaway alcoholic drinks and any drinks in glass bottles.

Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reminded reporters that the day-to-day mobilisation of troops and police around France since the attacks was already bigger than any mobilisation which France was deploying abroad.

“It’s bigger than in Mali, bigger than in the Central African Republic, bigger than in the Middle East, but it’s the same fight, its the same enemy. It is at home as well as abroad,” he said.

“We have to be very vigilant, but that vigilance should not stop the celebrations.”

Reuters