France cancels Europe's top flea market over terror fears

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France cancels Europe's top flea market over terror fears
Photo: AFP

The Lille flea market, considered one of France top annual events, has become the latest to be cancelled amid fears it may be targeted by terrorists.


One of Europe's biggest flea markets, in the northern French city of Lille, has been cancelled over security fears in the terror-hit country, mayor Martine Aubry said Friday.

The annual market attracted 2.5 million visitors over two days in 2015, and Aubry said there were "risks we cannot reduce. Therefore I think we must cancel the 2016 flea market."

"We have really tried our best, but there are risks we cannot reduce," Aubry told a news conference alongside Michel Lalande, the top government official in the region. She described it as "a painful decision". 

Lalande said the decision was necessary because of the "hyper-urban format (of the market) with its streets full of people."

He added: "There comes a time, despite our passions and our convictions, when we have to say stop."

The flea market, called the Braderie de Lille was due to be held on September the 3rd and 4th. Some 10,000 exhibitors, including 300 antique dealers display their goods during the two day sell off, which is why it's considered the biggest flea market in Europe.

It is just the latest in a growing list of summer events in France that have been scrapped as authorities fear they cannot guarantee adequate security given the unprecedented terror threat.

After the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice the interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve told mayors across the country not to think twice about cancelling an event if they thought security could not be guaranteed.

During a visit to Lyon this week, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France had to take the threat seriously. 
"We are in a situation of war. So, for the moment, we have to forbid events if security norms cannot be respected," he said. 
"Everyone has to understand that we are in this situation and that it brings constraints."

The list of cancelled events has started to grow.

This week Marseille announced that the air show planned to take place on august 13th has been scrapped after the city’s mayor held talks with police chiefs.

And the traditional August 15th fireworks shows have been cancelled across the country including La Baule in Brittany, the towns of Avignon, Collioure, Chambery and the Riviera resort of Cannes.

Police chiefs in Paris have already cancelled several events in the French capital this summer including a popular open film festival because they could not guarantee sufficient security.


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