Security challenges for the Paris Olympic Games 2024


For the first time at an Olympic Summer Games, the Opening Ceremony will not take place in a stadium. Instead, the parade of athletes is set to take place along the Seine in the centre of Paris, following a six-kilometre route moving from east to west, departing from the Austerlitz Bridge and ending in front of the Trocadéro. The Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony on 26 July is expected to be the largest in Games history – around 160 heads of state are expected to attend, while 10,500 athletes will take part in the boat parade through central Paris. Additionally, around 80 giant screens will be set up along the river to showcase the event.

Despite initial plans for the ceremony to include space for over 500,000 spectators, French authorities have scaled back the capacity to around 326,000, citing various security factors, including the increased terrorism threat. At least 45,000 security force members will be deployed for the event, including 2,500 foreign police, in what will be a major security operation. Airspace within a 150km (90 mile) radius of Paris will also be closed during the ceremony. Authorities have warned of significant traffic disruptions in central Paris ahead of the Opening Ceremony. Several bridges will close from 1 July, with only five remaining open along the parade route until several hours before the beginning of the ceremony.

Paris Olympics and the risk of terrorism

The risk of terrorism is among the main security concerns for the upcoming games. This includes the increased threat posed by Islamic State and its affiliate groups, namely Islamic State – Khurasan Province (IS-KP), which orchestrated the Crocus City Hall attack in Moscow on 22 March. IS has encouraged followers to attack high-profile sporting events such as the Champions League knockout fixtures in Paris, London and Madrid over recent months.

The upcoming Games come amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The polarising nature of the conflict has prompted European authorities to account for the increased risk of terrorist incidents. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported in a recent interview that two planned attacks in France had been foiled since the turn of the year. France raised its national security alert system to its highest level immediately after the Moscow attack. This will enable a range of additional security measures, including an increased police presence around potentially sensitive areas, including schools, train stations, airports, religious sites and public events. Security measures will be significantly increased in the vicinity of major venues for the Games, including the Stade de France, Roland-Garros, Parc des Princes and Place de la Concorde.

Protest activity, union strikes and unrest

France experienced bouts of widespread protest activity and unrest in Paris and other major urban centres throughout 2023, which caused significant disruption. Instances of unrest took place during large-scale protests opposing controversial pension reforms and were accompanied by coordinated trade union industrial action. Further violent protests took place in June 2023 following the shooting of a teenager by the police.

Negotiations between the government and transport unions have been ongoing for several months – authorities have offered bonuses in an effort to avoid large-scale public transport strikes in Paris and across France during the Games. The General Labor Confederation (CGT), one of France’s biggest trade unions, filed intended strike notices for the three branches of public sector workers covering the period 15 April through 15 September.

Politically motivated protests and environmental activism also have the potential to disrupt events in Paris over the coming months. Both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations linked to ongoing developments in the Middle East have taken place in major urban centres across Europe. The polarising nature of the conflict suggests that further protests are highly likely in Paris throughout the summer months, irrespective of a potential ceasefire. French authorities have also carried out extensive security checks to minimise the prospect of disruption involving environmental groups.

Advice for travellers and spectators

  • Monitor developments related to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games via reliable local and international media channels. Look out for updates on planned protest activity or union-led industrial action.
  • Plan journeys accounting for delays and significant disruptions in central Paris ahead of the Opening Ceremony. Refer to official guidance (available HERE) for detailed information on road closures, security cordons and other measures in place throughout the Games.
  • Expect increased demand for public transport and anticipate an increased security presence at major transport hubs and Olympic venues prior to and during the Games. Refer to official guidance (available HERE) for hour-to-hour information on public transport services and disruptions in Paris.
  • Adhere to instructions issued by the authorities and local police. Anticipate increased security checks in the vicinity of Olympic venues and make sure to check official guidance regarding baggage allowances.
  • Bypass all signs of protest activity as a security precaution. Take additional care to avoid potential contact points between protesters and the police if a significant protest is taking place. Adhere to any instructions from local authorities.

Healix can provide organisations with event security, event monitoring, and bespoke intelligence. Contact us at to find out more about how we can support you.

James Towndrow
Intelligence Analyst
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