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France orders nationwide security presence for holiday season

By Gong Ming (People's Daily Online)    09:40, December 25, 2017

Gendarmes patrol the Arc de Triomphe, photo by AFP

Paris (People’s Daily) - In France, about 100,000 policemen, gendarmes, and soldiers have been activated across the country for the next two days to prevent a Christmas terrorist attack.

The number of security personnel is up 6,000 from last year. In Paris alone, some 7,000 police were added to the security initiative known as “Operation Sentinelle.”

"The safety of both the French and visitors is France’s top priority,” said an official statement from Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, on December 22.

Collomb stressed how the jihadist threat is a major concern with France.

"To ensure security, 54,000 policemen, 36,000 gendarmes, and 7,000 soldiers make up ‘Operation Sentinelle,’ for a combined total of 97,000 security personnel, and will be mobilized on December 24 and 25,” the statement read.

Over the past two years, jihadist attacks have claimed 241 lives in France.

Security forces are worried about, “isolated individuals acting out, often with rudimentary means, but which can be extremely dangerous.”

France’s national security alert system, Vigipirate, focuses on security in high-density areas like shopping malls, Christmas markets, and churches. Security throughout the country’s public transportation is also a main concern.

Local police and gendarmerie were ordered to set up visible and dissuasive devices to secure places of worship. They plan to guard and protect more than 650 Christian locales. Also, Christmas markets, shopping centers, and tourist destinations will be heavily monitored.

This year, prefects have established protection perimeters as mandated by the sweeping counterterrorism law that went into effect on October 30. The measure allows for the reinforcement of security controls to ensure the safety of all areas perceived to be at risk of danger.

Within each perimeter, baggage and vehicle inspections are permitted.

At the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, which receives 13 million visitors every year, a reinforced security perimeter will be used Sunday and will remain until late Christmas Day.  

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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