No less than 140 heads of state and government in the same capital, 40 000 daily visitors in the areas dedicated to COP21 in Le Bourget, and thousands of activists… all this with a whole country under a state of emergency. After the Paris attacks of November 13th, the French Ministry of the Interior has announced unprecedented mobilization of security forces to guarantee security during COP21. "All in all, 120 000 policemen, gendarmes and soldiers have been deployed all over the territory", minister Bernard Cazeneuve stated before focusing on the measures specifically dedicated to COP21.
The political response to the attacks seems to have a varied impact on the web. According to data collected by COP21Horizon, the most expressed emotion online is fear, registering in more than 30% of documents analyzed. Next comes anger, present in 27% of documents, followed by concern with about 18%. In France, it seems the French government’s announcement has had more impact, with anticipation and trust dominating fear and anger, with more than 33% and 22% of the documents analyzed expressing these emotions respectively.
One clear trend that emerges from our data is that the security measures announced by the French government had a pretty weak impact globally, whereas in France they managed to temper the rising pessimism surrounding COP21 after the Paris attacks.
Thousands of policemen
About 30 000 policemen were already engaged in controlling borders, a measure taken every time a major diplomatic event is organized on French territory. Following the attacks, there will be 8 000 additional officers for this task. "2 800 policemen and gendarmes will officiate in the COP areas", Bernard Cazeneuve added. They'll receive the support of the Blue Berets (members of the UN security forces) and mobile security units.
In addition to a more visible police presence, normal citizens will directly feel the effects of the security measures deployed, with a number of inconveniences. Activists still marched in Paris on November 29th although their demonstration has been cancelled by authorities. Hundreds of thousands of militants were expected from all around the World for the climate march.
Restrictions on traffic have also met with opposition. In order to deal with the influx of political leaders, highways were closed between Paris and the surrounding airports on the first two days of COP21. Other closures will paralyze streets in the city. Meanwhile, public transport will be reinforced and open to everyone for free. A small victory for the environment in an otherwise challenging context.
Environment gets lots of supporters. Mostly during strikes.