The small town of Lourdes, in the Pyrenees, is about to celebrate 15 August Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Since the launch of the celebrations on the 11th, thousands of pilgrims flock every day in the town of 15,000 inhabitants, became one of the first places of Catholic pilgrimage in the world. Just over 25,000 people in total are expected for the International Mass to be held Monday on the prairie of the sanctuary.
But this year, facing the terrorist threat, the pilgrimage will be significantly different, one month after the bombing in Nice and a little over two weeks after the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. A safety device reinforced was implemented by the Ministry of Interior and inspected Saturday morning by Bernard Cazeneuve, who took the opportunity to express solidarity with the Catholics.
“when the Catholics of France” are preparing for a party that speaks for them (…) I want (their) express our solidarity, the will of mine as Minister of Religious Affairs to ensure the security of places of worship and major events, “said the minister at the side of the bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, Monsignor Brouwet.
508 security personnel deployed
“Here as elsewhere, there is a mobilization of the Interior Ministry during the summer period which is strong and which follows a period when the mobilization was already strong. So for us, it is without break “, said the minister, who is also in charge of worship as part of its functions to the interior.
In an interview with the daily Regional South West , the minister also said that 508 security personnel were deployed to cope with the influx of pilgrims, “including 269 policemen and 139 gendarmes, a Raid team, specific equipment, traffic facilities, and air support. “According to the minister, the threat” remains extremely high. “
22 places of worship in the heart of the city
Among the measures announced by the authorities, as part of other summer festivities also include the control inputs, the pedestrianization of streets adjacent the afternoon and evening, as well as the no-fly places of pilgrimage by drones. Located in the heart of the city, the Lourdes sanctuary covers an area of 52 hectares and is home to 22 places of worship.
across France, nearly 30,000 additional personnel were deployed in total to frame various events planned during the summer, including fireworks. Sunday, Bernard Cazeneuve will travel elsewhere in the Var to inspect the system put in place in this framework.