Paris is set to unveil thick bulletproof glass walls and metal fences around the Eiffel Tower, designed to protect France’s most famous monument from terrorist attacks.
The boosted security measures, under construction since last year, come with France still on high alert after a string of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 240 people since 2015.
The new walls, shown to journalists during a site tour on Thursday, are part of security measures that have cost nearly 35 million euros ($40.7 million) and are due to be finished by mid-July.
Glass walls measuring 6.5 centimetres (2.5 inches) thick will run along the riverside Quai Branly boulevard as well as the Avenue Gustave Eiffel which separates the tower from a park.
The walls, which are bulletproof as well as resistant to vehicle-ramming attacks, are “rock-solid for absolute security”, said Bernard Gaudillere, head of the SETE, the company which runs the Eiffel Tower.
The other two sides will be fenced off with metal barriers formed from curved prongs in the form of the tower itself and at 3.24 metres high, stand exactly a hundredth of the height of the “Iron Lady”.
Gaudillere said his team worked with police to decide how best to secure a monument which has itself repeatedly switched off its twinkling night-time lights in memory of the victims of attacks around the world.
– ‘Dangerous times’ –
Tourists visiting the site Thursday said they felt reassured by the new measures, still mindful of the horrific Islamic State attacks of November 2015 in which 130 people were killed at Paris nightspots.
“We live in a dangerous time. I think it’s a great idea — when I see this I feel more safe,” said Edyta Poncyljusz, visiting from Warsaw.
David Luke, from the US state of Utah, noted with dismay that tourists are no longer free to walk under the tower as was the case last time he visited four years ago.
“But I think it’s a good idea,” he said of the security walls.
“It’s inconvenient and a little annoying, but we’re used to security measures in the US — going through metal detectors just for a basketball game.”
Like other French tourist sites, the tower is regularly patrolled by anti-terror troops, and the forecourt underneath the iron structure has been fenced off over terrorism fears since June 2016.
Gaudillere acknowledged that the temporary fences were “not very aesthetically pleasing”, giving the monument the look of a building site, but promised the end result would be “infinitely nicer and more romantic”.
He said the building work does not appear to have dented visitor numbers, which are still expected to reach up to seven million in 2018.
Tourists will still be able to access the gardens and the forecourt underneath the tower for free once passing through the security fences, he said.
The walls are part of a 300-million-euro revamp of the Eiffel Tower, with most of the work due to be completed ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
‘I’m getting shot’: Shocking video shows police in Louisville hitting journalists with pepper bullets
Police fired pepper bullets at a camera crew doing a live broadcast of the police violence protests in Louisville on Friday evening.
"WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust appeared to have been hit by rubber bullets reportedly fired by an LMPD officer during a protest in downtown Louisville," the station reported.
Rust was wearing a fluorescent safety vest at the time of the incident.
"I'm getting shot," she shouted.
The news anchor asked, "who are they aiming that at?"
Law enforcement files discredit Brian Kemp’s accusation that Democrats tried to hack the Georgia election
It was a stunning accusation: Two days before the 2018 election for Georgia governor, Republican Brian Kemp used his power as secretary of state to open an investigation into what he called a “failed hacking attempt” of voter registration systems involving the Democratic Party.
But newly released case files from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reveal that there was no such hacking attempt.
The evidence from the closed investigation indicates that Kemp’s office mistook planned security tests and a warning about potential election security holes for malicious hacking.
Kemp then wrongly accused his political opponents just before Election Day — a high-profile salvo that drew national media attention in one of the most closely watched races of 2018.
Brooklyn 88 Precinct ‘overrun’ — one night after Minneapolis police station was burned to the ground: report
Protesters have overrun a police station in New York City, according to a CNN law enforcement analyst.
"NYPD source informs me 88 Pct in Brooklyn just been overrun," former FBI Agent James Gagliano reported Friday evening.
"Police Commissioner Shea has called a Level 3 mobilization. Requires all special units respond and four cars from every command in the city to location," he explained.
He said 84 Precinct and Brooklyn North are also "under siege."
Brooklyn 88 precinct overrun pic.twitter.com/rCyV41XKmN