PARIS (Reuters) -President Emmanuel Macron vowed on Sunday that 2024 will be the year of French pride and hope, marked by the Paris 2024 Olympic Summer Games and the reopening of the Notre Dame cathedral after a devastating fire in 2019.
“Only once in a century does one host Olympic and Paralympic Games, only once in a millennium does one rebuild a cathedral,” Macron said. “2024, a year of determination, choices, recovery, pride. In fact, a year of hope.”
He spoke in a televised address ahead of New Year celebrations during which around 90,000 police and 5,000 soldiers will be deployed to ensure security and address what the government called a “very high” terrorist threat.
France will continue to “re-arm” itself when it comes to security matters, but also boost public education and social cohesion, Macron said.
He sought to cheer up the French after a year marked by wars and crises abroad as well as protests over an unpopular pension reform and street violence following the police killing of a teenager at a Paris traffic stop.
According to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, over 800,000 people took to the Champs Elysees boulevard to greet the new year in a mass party with an Olympics theme.
They watched a stunning video show on the Arc de Triomphe celebrating France’s current and past sports stars ahead of midnight fireworks that lasted 10 minutes.
As of 2300 CET, 69 people have been arrested countrywide, around 40 of which in Paris as authorities so far only reported minor security-related incidents.
(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Editing by Sybille de La Hamaide, Nick Macfie and Mark Porter)