News / Europe

    French Soccer Team Returns to Stadium, Site of Paris Attacks

    A French supporter wrapped in his national flag passes by police officers guarding the Stade de France stadium prior to the international exhibition soccer match between France and Russia in Saint Denis, north of Paris, March 29, 2016.
    A French supporter wrapped in his national flag passes by police officers guarding the Stade de France stadium prior to the international exhibition soccer match between France and Russia in Saint Denis, north of Paris, March 29, 2016.
    Associated Press

    A calm atmosphere surrounded the Stade de France on Tuesday evening as France's soccer team returned to its national stadium for the first time since last November's attacks in Paris.

    Security had been tightened ahead of the game, with police cars patrolling around the arena in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, while fans gathered at concessions areas a couple of hours before France took on Russia in an exhibition game.

    With police sirens wailing in the distance, families slowly walked along the main esplanade as a rare ray of light broke through the clouds, while a group of supporters raised the Russian flag and took selfies.  

    "I'm not afraid, life goes on,'' said Benoit Guyot, who traveled from the eastern region of Alsace to watch the game. Guyot told The Associated Press he had never seen France playing at its home stadium before and said the high level of alert in the French capital did not frighten him.  

    "I've never seen as many security forces at a sporting event,'' he said. "I'm reassured.''

    Those measures follow the bombings on November 13, when 130 people were killed on a night of attacks in Paris. Suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the stadium during France's exhibition game against Germany, killing one bystander.

    Rugby matches

    Though Tuesday's game at the stadium where France won the 1998 World Cup is the first for the soccer team since those attacks, France has played three Six Nations rugby matches there without incident.

    Security measures in place Tuesday were similar to those deployed during the rugby tournament, including increased checks on public transportation and the area around the stadium.

    French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters at the stadium that 575 police officers and 1,200 privately hired security guards were on patrol. Cazeneuve added that the stadium's parking lots were checked by bomb disposal units and that all vehicles entering the arena were searched.

    It took a bit longer than usual for fans to reach the stadium from downtown Paris because of slowdowns on the subway network.

    Once they had made it to Saint-Denis, a first safety perimeter was set up near the stadium, where private security guards made body searches under the watchful eyes of armed policemen. Fans were then searched and had their tickets checked again once they reached the turnstiles.

    The deputy head of the Paris public order and road traffic authority, Laurent Simonin, said this week that snipers, as well as members of the elite unit of the French national police known as RAID, would be ready to intervene if needed.

    Security measures are expected to be even tighter when France hosts the European Championship June 10-July 10. About 2.5 million fans are set to attend matches in the 10 host cities being used for the soccer tournament.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora