France kicks off Euro 2016 party with Eiffel Tower gig

June 10, 2016 6:02 am
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A picture taken on June 9, 2016 from the Montparnasse tower shows the opening concert of the Paris fan zone on the Champs de Mars by the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, one day before the start of the Euro 2016 football championship/AFP
A picture taken on June 9, 2016 from the Montparnasse tower shows the opening concert of the Paris fan zone on the Champs de Mars by the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, one day before the start of the Euro 2016 football championship/AFP

, PARIS, France, Jun 10 – France kicked off Euro 2016 festivities with a huge open-air concert at the Eiffel Tower Thursday, as President Francois Hollande vowed the event would run smoothly despite ongoing strikes and looming terror attack fears.

Security was tight as French DJ David Guetta performed in front of some 80,000 cheering fans at the foot of Paris’ most famous landmark, in what was seen as the first major challenge for the security services.

Overview
  • Security was tight as French DJ David Guetta performed in front of some 80,000 cheering fans at the foot of Paris' most famous landmark, in what was seen as the first major challenge for the security services.
  • The party came on the eve of the opening match between France and Romania which will take place at the Stade de France, one of the venues targeted in the coordinated Islamic State attacks that killed 130 people last November.
  • The government is eager to make sure the championship goes off without a hitch, but the build-up to Europe's four-yearly football extravaganza has been blighted by strikes and street protests over controversial labour reforms.

The party came on the eve of the opening match between France and Romania which will take place at the Stade de France, one of the venues targeted in the coordinated Islamic State attacks that killed 130 people last November.

The government is eager to make sure the championship goes off without a hitch, but the build-up to Europe’s four-yearly football extravaganza has been blighted by strikes and street protests over controversial labour reforms.

As hundreds of thousands of fans began pouring into the capital ahead of the football action Thursday, a train strike rumbled into its ninth day and bags of household rubbish were piling up on the streets of the French capital.

Rail workers have threatened fresh disruption on Friday on the lines serving the Stade de France.

Hollande warned the government was prepared to “take all necessary measures” to accommodate and transport spectators, insisting that “public services will be provided”.

“I will be paying close attention tomorrow and if decisions need to be made, they will be made,” Hollande said Thursday. “The whole of Europe will be watching.”

With fears of another attack looming large over the event, the government will deploy some 90,000 police and private guards to provide security at the tournament.

In a sign of the stringent security measures to come, music lovers arriving for Guetta’s performance were made to walk through two checkpoints before entering the open-air fan zone.

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