PARIS (AP) — France, on edge with fears of a new terror attack, continues to cancel traditional festive events for security reasons, the latest the famed Braderie de Lille, an annual flea market in the northern city that draws people from all over France.
Lille Mayor Martine Aubry announced on Friday the cancellation of the Sept. 3-4 flea market, which draws visitors from around France who come to hunt for bargains and eat mussels, a regional specialty.
The news came hours after Nice officials said the July 14 truck attack has claimed an 85th victim, a man whose wife and son died when a Tunisian extremist mowed down a crowd on the famed Promenade des Anglais with his truck.
Dozens of summer events have been canceled because maximal security cannot be assured despite an additional injection of security forces.
Trucks arriving full of goods for the market were an issue in Lille.
“We cannot check them all” each time they come and go, Aubry said on French television, adding that she had a “moral responsibility” to cancel the event that draws over 1 million visitors each year.
However, one major event that draws thousands, including many suffering serious illnesses, is not being scratched: the Feast of the Assumption on Aug. 15 in the pilgrimage site of Lourdes in southern France, with its sanctuary reputed for its curative spring waters. Security plans for Lourdes’ biggest annual event were being announced next week.
Roman Catholics in France were directly targeted with the July 26 slaying of a priest at the altar of his Normandy church. That, the Nice attack, the killing of a police couple in June and two waves of attacks last year that killed 147 were claimed by the Islamic State group.
France has been on edge as it tries to stave off yet another attack. Soldiers have been deployed on the streets to help police and gendarmes, reserves have been called up and intelligence and police officers are receiving and sifting through tips.
An Algerian man was expelled on Thursday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced, saying the individual represented a “grave threat to public order.”
A statement, which provided no details on the expulsion, said that 80 people have been expelled since 2012, when Socialist President Francois Hollande took office. The previous government also expelled those considered a threat.
Marseille, France’s second largest city, has canceled a string of events, including the Aug. 13 flyover of the “Patrouille de France” air team that streams the French colors through the sky.
“This is absolutely not surrender to terrorism,” Prefect Laurent Nunez insisted in an interview with the AP on Thursday, noting that numerous events were not scratched.
The number of soldiers patrolling Marseille increased from 350 to 600 after the attack in Nice, some 200 kilometers down the coast.
Margaid Quioc in Marseille contributed to this report.
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