PARIS (AP) — France saw fewer of the car burnings that usually blight the arrival of a new year as the Olympic host country celebrated the start of 2024, the interior minister said Monday.
The 380 arrests made nationwide overnight was a 10% drop compared with a year ago, said Gerald Darmanin, citing preliminary early morning figures.
Authorities counted 745 vehicle fires, also 10% fewer than last year, Darmanin said.
About 40 police officers suffered slight injuries, a 40% drop on last year, he added.
Law enforcement authorities had been eager to prove that 2024’s arrival could be celebrated without a major security crisis as they gear up for the Summer Games that open in Paris on July 26.
Authorities had vowed that New Year’s Eve security would be tight across France, with 90,000 law enforcement officers deployed.
In Paris, celebrations centered on the Champs-Elysees boulevard, where the Arc de Triomphe was crowned with fireworks and bathed in lights and video projections, including of the five Olympic rings. Darmanin said the crowd there topped 1 million people.
The security challenge ahead of the Olympics was highlighted when a tourist was killed in a knife attack near the Eiffel Tower on Dec. 2. Large-scale attacks — such as that in 2015, when Islamic extremists invaded a concert venue and shot up cafe terraces, killing 130 people — also loom in memory.
AP coverage of the Paris Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games
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