The French are about to celebrate Christmas Eve this Thursday December 24 and Christmas on Friday December 25, 2020 with their families. And Gérald Darmanin wishes “churches and temples” to be extra safe. The French Secretary of the Interior has asked prefects to “significantly reinforce” surveillance of these places of worship and offices on December 24 and 25, two days during which the faithful widely pray and go to masses.
“Please guarantee as many forces of the order as possible in the immediate area around churches and temples during this period with a high risk of a terror attack” the Secretary wrote in a telegram sent and read yesterday by Agence France Presse. Military sentinel forces “will be rallied usefully” as backups for police officers, he adds in the letter.
For the record, the Vigipirate plan is still at the maximum, aka “attack alert” as France has been hit by several terror attacks since September 2020.
Still in this telegram, Gérald Darmanin asks prefects to “identify the most sensitive places, know the places and hours of ceremonies and then set up protective measures to implement in order to reassure Christians”.
Furthermore, places of worship are subjected to a strict health protocol because of the current health context. Therefore, there shall be two seats vacant between each person or family. Moreover, places of worship have to leave one row vacant in two.