Macron Says Olympic Opening Ceremony May Be Moved for Security

( – The French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested that the location for the July 26 opening ceremony for the Paris Olympics could be changed from the River Seine to the famous Trocadéro site in Paris, or even outside of the city center to the Stade de France, should security risks be deemed too high to proceed with the original plans.

The opening ceremony for the four-yearly games is generally a much anticipated and well prepared, as well as costly, spectacular that is usually performed in a large stadium in front of a live audience and television crews. The French authorities plan to put their own stamp on proceedings by taking part of the show and turning it into a floating parade, with a flotilla of boats making their way through the capital city on the River Seine. As Macron has made clear in recent comments, however, this plan is far from set in stone.

The ambitious team in charge of the opening show had intended for 10,500 athletes to take their place on river boats which would sail for approximately 3.7 miles along the river with up to 600,000 people watching in person, many of whom would be able to view the procession for free from the Parisian riverbanks. The plans have been repeatedly scaled back due to fears over logistics and security and the number of spectators has since been halved, with free access to be limited to invitation-only tickets.

The country has been on high alert following the deadly terrorist attack on a concert hall in Moscow on March 22, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility. France itself has also been victim to many Islamist terror attacks in recent years, including the siege on the Bataclan theatre in 2015 which killed 90 people, and most recently the stabbing of three people in December 2023 in Paris, in which the French-Iranian attacker was reported to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” while killing one and injuring two more. Authorities fear that the ongoing war between the Palestinian Hamas terror group and Israel may fuel Islamist desire to target the Olympics’ opening ceremony.

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