Destinations Magazine

Aux Armes

By Stizzard
Aux armes

A TRIO of soldiers in full combat gear advances in triangular formation, heads swivelling from left to right. On this bright spring afternoon, the unit has been deployed to patrol La Défense. But this is not a military site. It is a shopping-mall and office-tower district to the west of Paris, named after a statue commemorating the capital’s defence during the Franco-Prussian war. The soldiers are part of Operation Sentinelle, patrolling the streets under France’s state of emergency.

When the operation was first launched, patrolling transport hubs and places of worship after the terrorist attacks in January 2015, the idea was to reduce its size as the threat subsided. After terrorists struck Paris again last November, however, President François Hollande imposed a state of emergency, and Sentinelle was reinforced to its full quota of 10,000 troops. The government is now seeking a third extension of the state of emergency to cover the European football championships this summer. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the defence minister, says the operation will continue “as long as necessary”.

For military planners, this is a challenge. Sentinelle is…

The Economist: Europe

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