Seeking to quell fear and criticism, the French government called up thousands of police reserves Saturday to increase security around the country, after the Islamic State group (ISIS) claimed responsibility for a beachfront Bastille Day attack that security forces failed to thwart.
From the Nice seashore to the seat of French politics in Paris, critics lashed out Saturday at President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government, asking how a country still under a state of emergency after previous carnage from Islamic extremist attacks could have let this happen again.
As Nice’s coastal promenade along the Mediterranean Sea reopened, tourists and residents paid tribute to the 84 people killed and the 200 wounded in Thursday night’s attack, their blood still jarringly visible on the pavement. The solemnity was only punctured when a pair of plainclothes police officers tried to drive through the crowd, prompting angry shouts of “Shame!” The officers backed away after a brief standoff.
Hollande held an emergency security meeting Saturday, and late in the day Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced he would call up 12,000 police reserves in addition to more than 120,000 police and soldiers already deployed around the country “because of the terrorist threat.”
Cazeneuve tried to defend his police force’s record, but his words rang hollow. He made similar statements after attacks in January 2015 at a kosher supermarket in Paris and the Charlie Hebdo newspaper that killed 17, and again after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris on a rock concert, the national stadium and cafes that killed 130.
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