— Published 24 May 2023

The gauge is still unclear

The roles are defined, but the doubt remains. With 430 days to go before the event, a “security protocol” for the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Games was signed on Tuesday 23 May between the State, the OCOG and the Paris City Council (photo above). Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of the Interior, summed up what was at stake at a press conference: “We are signing a security protocol to face a huge challenge“. Then he lifted the veil on certain elements of the evening. It should last three and a half hours, be divided into three sequences – the parade of delegations on the Seine, an artistic and musical show, then the official ceremony at the Trocadero – and mobilise 35,000 members of the forces of law and order (gendarmes, police officers, agents of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, private security agents and the city of Paris). Gérald Darmanin also confirmed that access to the upper quays of the Seine, where it will be possible to follow the ceremony free of charge, will be ticketed. It will be managed by the Ministry of the Interior. For the rest, Tony Estanguet, the President of the Paris 2024 OCOG, announced that 91 boats will be mobilised for the parade of delegations, plus 25 reserve boats. It was also specified that several rehearsals would be organised before D-day, including a partial rehearsal without passengers on 17 July, nine days before the opening. This is expected to last around eight hours. However, none of the speakers at the press conference on Tuesday 23 May at the Ministry of the Interior gave a figure for the number of people who would be admitted to the upper quays of the Seine. Gérald Darmanin mentioned “several hundred thousand people”, but without confirming or denying a reduced capacity of 400,000 free spectators (compared to 500,000 in the initial version), although this has been regularly suggested behind the scenes for several weeks. The only thing that is detailed in a document from the Ministry of the Interior is that the public will not be able to circulate freely. It will be “channelled and installed in boxes delimited by removable barriers“, with an occupation ratio of 3 people per m2.