Paris cancels fireworks, aims for subdued New Year celebrations after November attacks

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (centre) talks with armed French soldiers on patrol in front of  theNotre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Wednesday.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (centre) talks with armed French soldiers on patrol in front of theNotre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Wednesday. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - Authorities in Paris, with an eye to security following the November attacks by armed militants, are shortening a New Year video light show at the Arc de Triomphe at midnight on Thursday and cancelling a firework display to keep down crowds.

About 11,000 soldiers, police and emergency workers will be deployed - 2,000 more than last year - during subdued celebrations, the official city web site said, while there would be restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

The French capital remains on high alert since the Nov. 13 shootings and suicide bombings by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) militants which killed 130 people.

"We have decided to mark the New Year in an atmosphere of sobriety and togetherness," Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on an official city web site.

Fireworks are not a traditional part of the celebrations, but they were part of a New Year frenzy a year ago on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, the capital's most famous thoroughfare.

"Tourists and residents alike will as usual be able to meet on what we know as the most beautiful avenue in the world, but this year, sobriety is here. There won't be a big show, and the fireworks are cancelled," the site said.

The sale and use of fireworks in the Paris region will be banned for the night, police said, as well as takeaway alcholic drinks and any drinks in glass bottles.

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reminded reporters that the day-to-day mobilisation of troops and police around France since the attacks was already bigger than any France was deploying abroad.

"It's bigger than in Mali, bigger than in the Central African Republic, bigger than in the Middle East, but it's the same fight, its the same enemy. It is at home as well as abroad," he said. "We have to be very vigilant, but that vigilance should not stop the celebrations."