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Could Paris have been another Orlando? French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb says the country’s police have thwarted 12 terrorist attacks since the beginning of the year, including one targeting gay clubs.
According to Collomb, the terrorists were targeting police stations, supermarkets and tourist venues in Paris and several other French cities. He also stated that “On Aug. 22 there was a plan of a violent attack on Parisian nightclubs, in particular gay clubs.”
It’s hard not to compare this ISIS plan to last year’s Orlando massacre. On the night of June 12, 2016, a man who had pledged allegiance to ISIS entered the gay nightclub Pulse armed to the teeth. He killed 49 people and wounded 53 others before the police took him down. That tragedy has touched people in many cities around the world, including those in Paris. Two days later, The Eiffel Tower took the colors of the rainbow flag to pay tribute to Pulse victims.
“This is no surprise,” says Paris’s gay clubs union
We spoke on the phone with Rémi Calmon director of Snegandco, a union of gay bars and clubs in Paris. “Sadly, this is not a surprise,” he told us, adding, “The fact that we and our lifestyle are a target to these people is actually quite obvious.”
On its website, Snegandco gave the following advice to its members:
This announcement reminds us of the need for heightened vigilance and for a better awareness of your employees in every place. Without being paranoid, without alarming the public, you can take a series of measures with your security officer and with the various police services.
The union also acts as advisor on a series of measures taken after the Paris attacks of November 2015 on several bars and the concert venue Le Bataclan.
Calmon observes that there is less vigilance now than right after those November attacks. There are no more backpack searches at the entrance of the clubs, for instance.
He warns that “ignoring the terrorist threat is a major risk.”
Featured image of soldiers patrolling Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris by Charles Platiau / Reuters