The Fan Zone at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the largest among the ten Euro 2016 venues, has opened its doors to the public to warm up with a music concert for tens of thousands of people.
Neither the sun nor the queues or the heavy security kept the eager football fans from enjoying the opening of the Fan Zone at the Champ de Mars on Thursday after its opening, reports Efe.
The Fan Zone is a 1,30,000 square meter space with a capacity to accommodate 1,20,000 people. The surroundings are decorated with the colours of the tournament and even a giant football ball has been placed in the middle of the Eiffel Tower.
The doors opened after famous French disc jockey David Guetta made his appearance. Whoever wanted to attend only needed to visit a record shop and ask for free entrance tickets.
No whistles, no rowdy cries were heard, only the sirens of police cars, which are the only ones authorised to drive in the vicinity because all the streets around the area are closed and cordoned-off for security reasons.
In every surrounding street there are police visible, at least two police cars and a gendarme truck. Some of the agents confiscate, check or salute, while others watch from afar, weapons in hand and fingers on the trigger. Attendees are required to present ticket access even at the exit.
The perception on the security measures, however, varies. Alejandro Diaz, who travelled from Spain, said he considered the environment “unsafe”. “They register you a bit, the basics at any event but I imagine there will be more security inside,” he said.
For her sister Rachel, it is the opposite: “It is all very safe.” She prefers not to think about terrorist threats, “the truth is I can only think that yes it is safe and enjoy it because if I would be afraid, I stay at home”.
Borja San Sebastian, a Spaniard living in Paris who works at the event’s logistics, said he felt safe in the fan zone because of “all the police, the army and private security”.
In addition, he said that “they are quite strict. I’m part of the organisation but they didn’t even let me pass with a bottle of water, but made me throw it away”.