Why could the visiting UEFA 2016 in France leave a negative impression?
Spreading embankments of Seine river, Notre Dame Cathedral, the coolness of blossoming Luxembourg Gardens, cathedral chimes at Saint-Germain… This is what was previously in the memories after a trip to Paris. Everything can change, and today Paris has turned into demonstrations on Republique squares with a stele in the center covered with flowers, remembering the victims of the November terrorist attacks. Walks along the banks of the Seine became faster, fear appeared in Parisians eyes, newspapers show almost military titles: strikes, protests against the socialist government, Syria, migration crisis, military operations in Africa, economic state of emergency, the irreconcilable working class conflict with the left-liberal government…
Why is it better not to visit Paris and go straight to a sports bar to watch the match?
1. Mass Demonstrations
France held mass demonstrations against the El Khomri labor reform, which will increase working hours, reduce extra payments for overtime, and simplify the process of dismissing employees.
The first demonstrations were held in March and united about half a million people. At the head of the demonstrators are the representatives of the left parties (Jean-Luc Mélenchon), trade unions, and student associations. There is a high risk of mass riots, especially in the capital.
2. You cannot get from one town to another
In addition to demonstrations, the population shows their discontent with the draft reform of labor legislation through strikes. For some months, the railway (SNCF) strikes have affected the train schedule. And if you need to get from one town to another, it is better to use a car, although there is another problem, as the gas stations joined the strike too.
3. Neither to arrive, nor to depart
The pilots of the largest French airline company Air France decided to join the strike: on June 3rd-5th, all air companies will be on strike! This means that it is impossible neither to arrive, nor to depart to France. The only option is to arrive to the closest European city to Paris and to get the train, for example, in Brussel-Zaventem Airport, which just reopened after the recent terrorist attacks. Oh yes! Remember that the terrorist threat is still high in Belgium! After arrival, you need to get to the central train station and take a train ticket to Paris, the main thing is to keep away from Molenbeek station: there are probably some terrorists planning revenge for their imprisoned comrade-jihadists.
4. Terrorist Threat
As the Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls said, France today is the first target for ISIS (Daesh), adding that the terrorist threat is still very high in France. If you still managed to get to Paris, try not to go to public places. Do not visit the monuments, and don’t walk near the Eiffel Tower (Islamic radicals threatened to blow it up in their promotional video). It is better to stay at the hotel and do not go out! Recently, the Sun newspaper reported that, according to the security services, the main goal of the terrorists is the Russia-England match, which will be held on June 11th. The terrorist group is allegedly going to use the latest technologies: using drones to spray chemicals against players and fans.
5. Emergency State
The French parliament extended the two months state of emergency, imposed after the November terrorist attacks. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs Bernard Cazeneuve, both upcoming events of the summer – Euro 2016, which will be held in the same Stade de France that was attacked in November, and the Tour de France – are “targets for terrorists.” The high threat level remains.
In other words, Paris no more resembles a city of poets: the police with guns are everywhere, as well as strengthened military control at railway stations, airports, museums, and shopping centers. Can the sports festival atmosphere overcome the existing tension?