Cannes: Security on High Alert as Festival Readies for Launch

While Cannes officials have tried as long as they could to avoid discussing security issues so at not dampen the festival’s party mood, that issue is already a big concern as festivalgoers start to arrive in town. Aside from the headlines and tweets, the military presence around the Palais and across the city is a reminder of the far-reaching measures that need to be taken at public events.

Roughly two weeks after officials and police took part in a staged terror attack at the Cannes Palais, France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Monday unveiled several new security measures, including systematic security checks and the presence of bomb squad experts as well as several hundred police officers on the ground in Cannes.

Due to the fact that the “terror threat was the highest it has ever been,” Cazeneuve said a bomb squad inspect the Palais and surrounding area daily.

The minister also said a special unit has been put in place at Cannes’ police station in order to centralize the city’s security operations.

On April 21, the city of Cannes was the backdrop of a simulated terror attack involving police along with the city of Cannes and 200 civilians. Orchestrated by the Cannes City Hall, the staged assault would have killed 30 people if it had happen for real, according to Yann Vari Lecuyer, who supervised the operation.

“Local police, military forces, firefighters, medical staff and hospital workers received a very brief description of the operation ahead of time and had to cope with the event as it unfolded,” explained Lecuyer. “We found out we had many adjustments to make — for one, we needed to be more synchronized, and we also increased our police staff and gave them bulletproof jackets and bigger weapons.”

On top of the military, local police, bomb squads and K-9 units, the city, also uses camera surveillance. “We’s just celebrated our 500th camera in Cannes,” said Lecuyer.

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