Macron says France may move Paris Olympic opening ceremony from 'world first' River Seine location over ISIS threat

15 April 2024, 14:14 | Updated: 15 April 2024, 15:05

Emmanuel Macron has admitted the Olympic opening ceremony may have to be moved from the Seine
Emmanuel Macron has admitted the Olympic opening ceremony may have to be moved from the Seine. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Emmanuel Macron has admitted that France may have to move the Olympic opening ceremony from a "world first" location on the River Seine because of an Islamist terror threat.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The French president said that instead of sailing down the Parisian river on barges for the traditional curtain-raiser, the Olympic teams may be unveiled in the national stadium instead as a precaution.

Mr Macron said: "We will analyse this in real time".

If the Seine event were to go ahead, it would mark the first time an Olympic opening ceremony took place outside of a stadium.

It comes after ISIS were said to have made threats of attacks at Champions League games in Paris, London and Madrid last week.

Read more: Olympic athletics gold medallists will get £39,000 in Paris this summer in break from tradition

Read more: Team GB athletes will wear traditional Union Jack at Olympics following backlash over pink and purple redesign

French President Emmanuel Macron talks with French Fencing champion Sara Balzer in the Grand Palais ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
French President Emmanuel Macron talks with French Fencing champion Sara Balzer in the Grand Palais ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Picture: Alamy

And a branch of the Islamist terror group attacked the Crocus City concert hall in Moscow in March, killing 144 people.

France's terror threat was raised to its highest level after the Russia attack.

Mr Macron said: "This opening ceremony... is a world first. We can do it and we are going to do it."

But he also said "there were "Plan Bs and Plan Cs", which could mean moving the ceremony to the Stade de France, which is north of Paris.

Mr Macron also said he would do "everything possible" so that the tradition of peace during the games, called an "Olympic truce", holds firm.

He said: "We want to work towards an Olympic truce and I think it is an occasion for me to engage with a lot of our partners."

Emmanuel Macron, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Head of Seine-Saint-Denis general council Stephane Trousse during the inauguration of the Olympic aquatics centre
Emmanuel Macron, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Head of Seine-Saint-Denis general council Stephane Trousse during the inauguration of the Olympic aquatics centre. Picture: Alamy

Mr Macron was asked by one onlooker if her son would be safe at the opening ceremony on the Seine.

He said in response: "If there’s one place where your son will be safe, it’s here. There are always risks in life.

One year to go until Paris 2024 – a look ahead to the Olympic Games

“And we see it every day, unfortunately. But we’ve given ourselves the means to do it.”

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a demonstration by the French fencing team as he visits the Grand Palais in Paris
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a demonstration by the French fencing team as he visits the Grand Palais in Paris. Picture: Alamy

The French government scaled back plans for 600,000 people to be able to watch the opening ceremony, with the capacity now 300,000.

"We will screen all the people who enter and leave (the security perimeter)," continued Macron.

"We are going to restrict traffic a lot. Sorry to all the local residents because it will be a lot of constraints for individuals and businesses. Eight days before, we will be completely closed.

"It is a cautious but confident and enthusiastic president who approaches the Games in the capital.

"We want to show the most beautiful face of France.

Gerald Darmanin, the country's home affairs minister, said earlier: "To manage crowd movement, we can’t tell everyone to come.

"For security reasons that everyone understands, notably the terrorist threat of recent weeks, we are obliged to make it free but contained.”

Paris has suffered several Islamist terror events in recent years, including a deadly attack at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, where 90 people were killed.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

India Cyclone

Storms flood villages and trigger power cuts to millions in Bangladesh and India

Kensington Palace has reportedly been inundated with get-well-soon cards for the Princess.

Princess Kate has been 'spending more time out and about’ with family as she continues cancer battle

Papua New Guinea Landslide

Officals fear waves of disease and disaster for Papua New Guinea after landslide

Mexico Mummy Issues

Fury at Mexican government after ancient mummy loses arm in renovation bungle

Rishi Sunak will announce plans to raise the tax-free allowance for pensioners on Tuesday.

Tories pledge £2.4bn tax cut for pensioners with ‘triple lock plus’ allowance

Villagers search through a landslide in Yambali village in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s government says landslide buried 2,000 people

Nicki Minaj has released a new date to perform at the Co-op Live arena in Manchester after the rapper had to cancel her initial gig following her arrest in the Netherlands on Saturday.

Nicki Minaj announces new Co-op Live Manchester show after cancelling first gig following arrest on suspicion of carrying drugs

King Charles to plant first seedling from Sycamore Gap tree months after historic tree was felled in act of vandalism

King Charles to plant first seedling from Sycamore Gap tree months after historic tree was felled in act of vandalism

More than 120 business leaders throw support behind Labour to help UK 'break free' from 'decade of economic stagnation'

More than 120 business leaders throw support behind Labour to help UK 'break free' from 'decade of economic stagnation'

Rafah airstrike that killed dozens of Palestinians was 'tragic mistake', says Israel's Netanyahu

Rafah airstrike that killed dozens of displaced Palestinians was 'tragic mistake', says Israel's Netanyahu

The RAF pilot who died after a Spitfire at a Battle of Britain airshow in Lincolnshire on Saturday has been named as Squadron Leader Mark Strong.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight 'temporarily paused' after Mark Long named as RAF pilot killed in Spitfire crash

Teen

Teenager, 17, 'eliminated from inquiries' as police continue manhunt after deadly double stabbing on Bournemouth beach

Sunak accuses Starmer of not offering 'one single new idea' as Labour leader brands Tory National Service plan a 'teenage Dad's Army'

Sunak accuses Labour of not offering 'single new idea' as Starmer brands National Service plan a 'teenage Dad's Army'

Biden

Biden says each generation has to ‘earn’ freedom in Memorial Day remarks

Telford MP Lucy Allan said she had quit the Conservatives

Outgoing Tory MP suspended after publicly backing Reform UK candidate as successor

Exclusive
The veterans minister said the plans would be "an extremely good thing"

Tory minister defends Sunak's 'brave' National Service plans despite last week criticising idea