Security at the Nice Carnival 2017
From the 11th to the 25th of February, the Carnival will take place in Nice but with new security features in a new, unique and private area, within a perimeter and a city which is an ultra-locked down and controlled
The 2017 Carnival will be the first large gathering since the Euro 2016 and especially, since the 86 deaths, hundreds of injured, and thousands of traumatised on 14 July. Should it go on? “Yes, but for us, the condition was that the State would guarantee us the means to ensure its security.” This is the basic idea mentioned by Christian Estrosi yesterday at the press conference presenting the King of Energy. This Sovereign, from Saturday evening until 25th February, will take the keys of the city and will make the doors stay locked against any danger.
Restricted in form
This desire for surveillance and drastic protection was stated at the City Hall, in front of a huge group of journalists, including the local press and representatives of the economic world. This group was so determined to know more about the set-up that they waited stoically for forty-five minutes for the speakers to eventually arrive and deliver the safety information!
To preserve the third biggest carnival in the world, the City has laid down rules and made concessions. It will be a restricted carnival. Not in its core, regarding the cultural and festive dimension, traditions and customs. But it will be restricted in form. In other words, excluding the Promenade des Anglais, which was part of the carnival until the events of the 14th of July. The new set up will include a unique route around Place Masséna and promenade du Paillon, bringing together the carnival corso and the ‘flower battles’ to better frame them. The site will be full secure and private, surrounded by blackout panels, with 36 entrances supervised by 200 private agents, and will be meticulously checked. Several events have had to be cut in order to allow the police to manage both Nice and the Menton Lemons and to have some rest: there will be no early exit of the King Friday, two Sunday corsi, Nice Carnival run, Queernaval, Bath and Zumbagéante. The neighbourhood carnivals are preserved, but in a closed space, in squares and impenetrable gardens.
Top Secret Security features
The President of the Metropole, the Mayor of Nice, Philippe Pradal and the Director of the Tourist and Convention Bureau, Denis Zanon, have accepted all these changes because “for the first time,” insists Christian Estrosi, “the person in charge of security, the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes, has given all the necessary guarantees and commitments. Over the past three years, the level of collaboration has never been higher.” What does this mean, in actual facts? “Extraordinary measures granted by the Minister of the Interior,” added Georges-François Leclerc, prefect. “We want specifics, numbers”, asked a journalist. Answer: “No … The security features we are using are innovative, some have never been used before, and we must maintain a degree of secrecy.” Christian Estrosi explained, “If the reinforcements were not satisfactory or not reassuring, we would not have held the carnival.” Nevertheless, the prefect’s statement must be borne in mind: “The level of the terrorist threat is high throughout France and may have several origins. Several scenarios have been taken into account, in order to respond to them.” All that one knows about the details is that there will be 65 municipal policemen for each exit, 45 for traffic and 20 for the urban supervision centre, which will manage 1,650 cameras, including 50 on the perimeter.
All this has a cost. There has been an additional cost: “300,000 euros, out of a total budget of 6 million, for logistics, the staff to put in front of the entrances,” said Denis Zanon. But there was a pleasant surprise from the Region, whose president announces “a subsidy of 100,000 euros versus 70,000 last year.” The free zone will now be a paid zone: 5 euros per adult. Finally, the prefect has given a practical recommendation: “Come without a bag, because checks will be carried out at access points to and around the event. This will save time.”
It’s clear that everyone involved has done as much as possible in order to ensure the safety of all present at the carnival. These extraordinary measures and new security features will reassure attendees that they can come and safely celebrate the Nice Carnival of 2017 and keep this tradition going.