June 2, 2016 (AFP) -The Paris police chief has proposed that a fan zone
in the heart of the capital be shut when Euro 2016 matches are played
in the city's two stadiums.
Police chief Michel Cadot cited the
"exhaustion" of overstretched officers and the threat of terrorism, in a
letter to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve seen by AFP on Thursday.
is one of nine cities hosting the month-long football tournament from
June 10 and a fan zone at the foot of the Eiffel Tower is set to
accommodate some 90,000 supporters during matches.
party atmosphere of the European championships has been dampened by
security fears and months of often violent protests and transport
strikes in France.
Adding to the anxious climate is a row over racism in the national squad which has set off a wider debate in the country.
Benzema, who is of Algerian origin, was excluded from the team over a
sextape scandal, but on Wednesday accused coach Didier Deschamps of
bowing to pressure from a "racist part" of France.
Also read: Madrid and Atletico players vie for final Euro 2016 spots
The country is
already on high alert for possible terror attacks, and the gathering of
tens of thousands of fans for the tournament is seen as a potential
In November, three suicide bombers blew themselves up
outside of the national football stadium as part of a series of attacks
on bars and restaurants in Paris.
In an earlier letter sent to
Cazeneuve, Cadot also expressed concerns about other events during the
championships, such as music festivals.
Former president and opposition chief Nicolas Sarkozy has called for the fan zones to be closed.
"We have other things for our police to do, with the current risk, than keep a watch on fan zones," he said.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said fan zones should be maintained unless there was a specific threat.
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