A $20 million dollar bullet-proof glass barrier will be built around the base of the Eiffel Tower to protect visitors from Islamic terrorist attacks. After Muslim terrorists killed more than 230 people in France over the past few years, the Eiffel Tower will be ramping up security.
(What happened to politicians telling everyone to go about their daily lives as usual following each terror attack? What happened to “we will not live in fear?” How can we have a candlelight vigil for the victims of the next terror attack behind a big barrier?)
USA TODAY The French government is constructing an 8.2-foot-high, bulletproof glass enclosure around the base of the Eiffel Tower to protect the iconic structure from a Muslim terrorist attack. But many French are offended by what they describe as a tasteless design that will be an eyesore.
“It’s pure madness!” said Bernard Thiebaut, a retired electrical engineer who lives in Paris. “It’s not just a physical barrier, it’s also a philosophical and a psychological barrier.”
After a public uproar over the $20 million project approved last month by the Paris City Council, Deputy Mayor Jean-Francois Martins defended the plan.
“The terror threat remains high in Paris and the most vulnerable sites, led by the Eiffel Tower, must be the object of special security measures,” Martins said. He added that the glass wall would allow full view of the tower while preventing individuals or vehicles from storming the attraction that draws 6 million visitors a year.
Critics said the wall, slated to go up in the fall, could undermine the French capital’s tourism industry that is already in a slump after a series of terrorist attacks that killed more than 200 people since 2015.
Despite enhanced security in France, terrorists remain a threat.
Last week, police arrested a 16-year-old French girl and her boyfriend on charges of preparing explosives in her apartment in Montpellier in southern France to blow up tourists at the Eiffel Tower. The teen, identified only as Sarah Z., allegedly had converted to Islam and pledged loyalty to the Islamic State.
Two weeks ago, French soldiers opened fire on a man wielding machetes and shouting “Allahu akbar” as he attacked them near the Louvre Museum.
Alison Bell, 50, waiting at the security check to get into the Eiffel Tower, said, “We’re very aware that it’s a potential target for terrorists here because it’s such an iconic place, so you feel a little bit nervous.”
The mood in the city is tense, added the teacher from Bristol, England. “There is a distinct police presence here in Paris generally. We’ve seen a lot of people with guns and men in uniforms,” Bell said.
Vanita Minhas, a Canadian tourist who recently visited the Eiffel Tower, said the City of Light landmark might end up resembling a fortress. “I don’t think it would look that nice,” said Minhas, 25, a dental hygienist. “It won’t make the Eiffel Tower seem as special or as unique if they are trying to keep everybody out.”