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Macron shelves plan to remove riverside Paris booksellers for opening ceremony

PARIS : French President Emmanuel Macron has shelved plans to force booksellers along the river Seine to remove their stalls for the 2024 Summer Games opening ceremony in response to their opposition, a source at Macron's office said on Tuesday.

Paris booksellers, who have operated from little dark green kiosks on the banks of the Seine for 150 years, had been outraged by plans to remove them for the ceremony for security reasons. They argued they were a symbol of Paris like the Eiffel Tower as well as a big tourist attraction.

The Paris police had initially ordered the removal of some 570 stalls over security concerns including fears they could be used to conceal explosive devices.

The president asked the interior minister and the head of Paris Police that "all the booksellers be protected and none be forced to move for the opening ceremony," the source said. The source said Macron understood the merchants' point that their stalls were "a living heritage of the capital"

Macron has asked authorities to adapt their security plans for the event as a result of his decision, the source added.

Paris 2024 organisers expect at least 300,000 people to attend the opening ceremony on July 26 on the Seine, during which athletes and delegations will sail along the river. It will be the first time the public have free access to the opening ceremony.