6,000 additional police to secure Olympic torch in France. OLYMPICS

Next month, Marseille is set to witness a monumental event as the Olympic torch arrives from Greece. On Friday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced that approximately 6,000 police officers will be deployed to ensure the utmost security during this historic occasion.

The Olympic torch commenced its journey in Athens, on Friday, where it was ceremonially handed over to French organisers. On Saturday, it will board a majestic 19th-century French sailing ship and is due to arrive in Marseille, where in addition to the presence of local firefighters and police, there will be contingent of 6,000 officers mobilised to reinforce security measures.

"We will set up everything required by anti-terrorist laws to monitor and prevent" any incident during the torch relay, Darmanin said.

Departing Greece on Saturday, the three-mast Belem will sail into Marseille's Old Port on 8 May, expecting a crowd of 150,000 spectators, excited to see the Olympic flame.

Darmanin announced the deployment of specialised units including an elite tactical team, bomb disposal squads, nautical police, and an anti-drone team to ensure security at the Old Port. Additionally, he noted that over 1,000 boats scheduled to accompany the Belem along the coastline before its arrival will undergo thorough inspections and "demining" procedures throughout the day.

The minister mentioned hypothetical scenarios related to "radical Islamism," and aknowleged that risks could also stem from the "far right and far left." Despite this, he emphasised that there is "no specific threat" identified for the event, underscoring the importance of readiness for a range of potential situations. Because of this, law enforcement is preparing for various hypothetical situations to ensure comprehensive security measures are in place.

French authorities had taken proactive measures by devising a contingency plan to address the possibility of encountering adverse weather conditions, particularly strong winds exceeding 25 knots, which could potentially impede the Belem from safely docking at the harbour.

This "plan B," as France has with the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony, has been devised as a precautionary measure to ensure the smooth running of the event, but the French interior minister is confident that "plan A" will be implemented, "As the weather is always good in Marseille, I don't think this will happen," said Darmanin.