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Paris aims for subdued New Year celebrations after November attacks
December 31, 2015 / 12:24 AM / 2 years ago

Paris aims for subdued New Year celebrations after November attacks

PARIS (Reuters) - Authorities in Paris, with an eye to security following the November attacks by armed militants, are shortening a New Year video light show at the Arc de Triomphe at midnight on Thursday and cancelling a firework display to keep down crowds.

About 11,000 soldiers, police and emergency workers will be deployed - 2,000 more than last year - during subdued celebrations, the official city web site said, while there would be restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

The French capital remains on high alert since the Nov. 13 shootings and suicide bombings by Islamic State militants which killed 130 people.

“We have decided to mark the New Year in an atmosphere of sobriety and togetherness,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on an official city web site.

Fireworks are not a traditional part of the celebrations, but they were part of a New Year frenzy a year ago on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, the capital’s most famous thoroughfare.

Armed French soldiers patrol in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, December 30, 2015, as a security alert continues during the Christmas and New Year holiday season following the November shooting attacks in the French capital. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

“Tourists and residents alike will as usual be able to meet on what we know as the most beautiful avenue in the world, but this year, sobriety is here. There won’t be a big show, and the fireworks are cancelled,” the site said.

Slideshow (4 Images)

The sale and use of fireworks in the Paris region will be banned for the night, police said, as well as takeaway alcoholic drinks and any drinks in glass bottles.

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reminded reporters that the day-to-day mobilisation of troops and police around France since the attacks was already bigger than any France was deploying abroad.

“It’s bigger than in Mali, bigger than in the Central African Republic, bigger than in the Middle East, but it’s the same fight, its the same enemy. It is at home as well as abroad,” he said.

“We have to be very vigilant, but that vigilance should not stop the celebrations.”

Reporting by Johnny Cotton and Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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