France maintained a high degree of security and arrested 1,550 individuals since the beginning of the Euro football championship on June 10 amid heightened fears of terror attacks, its government said on Monday.
France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve pointed out that of all those detained, 891 remained under arrest and 59 had been sentenced, while 64 people were deported after the violent clashes between Russian and English ‘hooligans’ in Marseille on June 11, reports Efe.
Cazeneuve said at the briefing that security during the tournament had been an “absolute priority” and described the security measures undertaken by authorities as “largely successful,” despite the high level of terrorist threat.
The minister explained that the EURO’s security detail had mobilised 90,000 officials, including 72,000 police and Gendarmerie agents tasked mainly with crowd control.
Cazeneuve emphasised the tournament’s high-risk context, as it was held only eight months after the deadly Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130, compelling the state, organisers and host cities to prepare for months in advance to avoid dangerous incidents.
During the November attacks, three suicide bombers targeted the Stade de France, the national sports stadium located in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis that hosted seven matches, including the final.
Four people, including the attackers, were killed near the stadium, while coordinated attacks at a concert hall and various restaurants killed another 126 people, prompting France to declare a three-month state of emergency in the aftermath.
The Paris attacks came five months before the related Brussels airport and metro station bombings that killed 32 and left over 300 people injured.
The threat, Cazeneuve added, continues to loom as the summer season begins and the Tour de France is underway, which is why the Interior ministry remains “extremely vigilant”.
In light of recent events, the Eiffel Tower remained closed to the public on Monday due to the riots that took place around the building during Sunday’s Euro 2016 final, when Portugal defeated France 1-0.
A spokesperson for the company running the tower told Efe that security personnel have been redeployed, but the monument remains closed as the current situation “does not allow receiving visitors”.
Most of the 40 arrests carried out on Sunday by French security forces in Paris took place around the area allocated for fans near the Eiffel Tower, which can accommodate more than 90,000 people.