France has beefed up security prior to the start of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament with thousands of police and soldiers. The host country has been struggling to reign in strikes and flood waters ahead of the games.
In an effort to strengthen security before the kick off of Euro 2016, French authorities agreed on deploying an additional 1,200 military personnel to the Paris area, announced officials on Monday.
"Today we are as well prepared as we can be," Paris police chief Michel Cadot said during a news conference.
Across France, more than 90,000 police, soldiers and private security agents will be deployed to ensure the safety of the June 10 - July 10 tournament. Ten thousand security personnel will be present in Paris alone Cadot told reporters.
The increased security came as Ukraine said it detained a Frenchman on Monday who was suspected of planning terrorist attacks across France during the games.
About 1.5 million fans from outside France are expected to attend the tournament's 51 soccer matches involving 24 teams. The games will take place at 10 stadiums across France.
Additionally, 100,000 people are expected to gather at outdoor fan zones to watch the games on giant TV screens in several areas, including the Eiffel Tower.
Security experts and police officials said protecting these open-viewing areas will be the biggest challenge, due to a lack of resources.
Averting further strikes
Officers also said they are worn-down and stressed after contending with two terror attacks this past year, as well as covering sometimes violent street protests.
Earlier on Monday, protesters from the hardline CGT trade union threw eggs at France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron as he was launching a new stamp to commemorate the "Popular Front" government which gave workers new rights.
Macron has advocated for labor reform legislation which seeks to loosen up France's strict labor market rules. The labor reforms sparked protests throughout France and strikes from state rail staff and in the energy sector. The rail strike entered its sixth consecutive day on Monday.
Air France pilots announced plans to strike starting on Saturday - the second day of the Euro 2016 tournament in a separate dispute over pay cuts.
France's government is meeting with unions to try and quell the strikes ahead of the games. President Francois Hollande said on Saturday, "no one would understand it if trains and planes … were to prevent fans traveling around easily."
Alongside prepping for security concerns and trying to end strikes before the arrival of thousands of international soccer fans, French officials are also dealing with record flooding.
France announced plans to establish an emergency fund for those hit hardest by the recent flooding. Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for solidarity and said the fund will seek to provide quick help to those with no resources.
The River Seine in Paris burst its banks over the weekend, with water levels peaking on Saturday. By Monday, the water level remained 3.7 meters (over 12 feet) above normal.
rs/kms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)