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Paris 2024 Olympics: Macron renounces the movement of second-hand booksellers from the banks of the Seine

Emmanuel Macron has decided to abandon the planned movement of the second-hand booksellers' boxes installed on the banks of the Seine in preparation for the opening ceremony of next summer's Olympic Games in Paris, the Élysée announced on Tuesday February 13.

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Paris 2024 Olympics: Macron renounces the movement of second-hand booksellers from the banks of the Seine

Emmanuel Macron has decided to abandon the planned movement of the second-hand booksellers' boxes installed on the banks of the Seine in preparation for the opening ceremony of next summer's Olympic Games in Paris, the Élysée announced on Tuesday February 13.

“Noting that no consensual and reassuring solution could be identified with these actors”, “the President of the Republic asked the Minister of the Interior and the Paris Police Prefect that all second-hand booksellers be preserved, and that none of them is forced to be displaced,” the same source explained. According to his entourage, the Head of State thus shows them “his attention considering that it is a living heritage of the capital”.

Last summer, booksellers were informed by the Paris police headquarters that for security reasons, several hundred boxes of books installed along the quays had to be temporarily moved a few days before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, July 26 on the Seine.

Since then, they have been fighting to keep these boxes in place, sealed during the preparations. Already abandoned by Parisians and weakened by Covid-19, they estimated that many of them would not have survived this move. Some 16 million tourists are expected in the capital during the Games.

This decision comes as the Ministry of the Interior once again lowered the maximum number of spectators able to attend the opening ceremony, increasing it, at the end of January, to around 300,000 people. The initial plan was to open the evening to around a million spectators who would attend the parade of athletes and the show designed by Thomas Jolly along the banks of the Seine. But to the doubts about the advisability of such a first were added the uncertainties about the security conditions of this demonstration, uncertainties further reinforced since the Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7 and the response in Gaza. The gauge had already been lowered for the first time by Gérald Darmanin to 600,000 this fall, to be halved again today.

To the point that more and more doubts are emerging about the feasibility of such an event which extends over more than 6 kilometers, from the Austerlitz bridge upstream to the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The confusion is all the greater as the executive itself has multiplied the hiccups on the issue. Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, in unison with the Olympic committee, explained again in December that there was no plan B, no alternative to the ceremony on the Seine. The Minister of Sports, however, found herself contradicted a few days later by Emmanuel Macron, assuring that there were “obviously plans B and C”, without elaborating further on the subject.

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