The number of people set to attend the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics, which will be a six kilometer parade along the iconic River Saine on July 26, has been estimated at about 300,000, which is sized down by half off of the previously expected number due to security concerns, French Interior minister Gerald Darmanin said on Wednesday.
"The idea is that there will be 100,000 people on the lower quays (with paying tickets) and more than 220,000 people on the upper quays (with free tickets)," Darmanin told French TV channel France 2. "Then there are all those who live there and who will be able to rent, have parties along the Seine."
The last time Darmanin estimated the number of attendees was in May 2023, when he said up to 600,000 were expected at the opening ceremony.
However, Paris 2024 organizers said the estimate was not final.
"As the French government has indicated, the final decision on the size of the stadium will be taken at the end of the consultation process in spring 2024," according to the organizers in a statement to Reuters.
"When it comes to security, the Minister of the Interior is in the best position to take the right decisions. As you know, it is the State that is responsible for security and for welcoming the spectators who will attend the opening ceremony free of charge on the upper quays. Paris 2024 has been working for many months in close collaboration with the public authorities to calibrate the capacity, for which we are taking many parameters into account. Consultations are still underway, under the authority of the Chief of Police."
(With input from Reuters)
(Cover: Olympic rings seen outside the City Hall in Paris, France. /CFP)