23,000 police mobilized to protect Tour de France

AP , Tuesday 24 May 2016

Tour de France cycling race (AP)
In this Monday July 7, 2008 file photo shows French police holding back demonstrating harbor workers during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Saint-Malo and Nantes, western France (AP)

Cyclists at this year's Tour de France will be under the watch of 23,000 police, including SWAT-like intervention squads, as the government tries to ensure security amid extremist threats.

France has been in a state of emergency since attacks on Paris in November killed 130 people, with soldiers guarding landmarks and religious sites. The emergency measures were extended last week to cover the European Championship next month and the Tour de France, which runs July 2-24.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve met Tuesday with Christian Prudhomme, president of the organization that runs the Tour, and afterward announced exceptional security measures for this year's race.

Securing the Tour is unusually difficult, as crowds of fans gather informally on narrow mountain roads and city streets along thousands of kilometers around France.

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