France deploys thousands of police officers to protect churches for Easter

France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Sunday said 13,500 police and anti-terror soldiers had been deployed outside 4,530 churches to protect them against any “terrorism” as they celebrate Easter.

“Law enforcement forces are present everywhere nationwide from Good Friday to Easter Monday to protect services in an extremely difficult context in which terrorism could hit,” he said.

“There are 13,500 police officers, gendarmes and (anti-terror) military personnel at 4,350 Christian places of worship, Catholic and Protestant,” he added.

France has raised its security alert to the highest level after an attack claimed by ISIS at a concert hall in the Russian capital on March 22 claimed 144 lives.

France has been rocked by a series of deadly extremist attacks in recent years.

Two planned attacks have been foiled since the start of the year.

One involved “violent action against a Catholic religious building” by a man “clearly committed to jihadist ideology”, according to the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office.

The 62-year-old was arrested and remanded in custody in early March, prosecutors said.

Catholics and Protestants are commemorating the resurrection of Jesus this Sunday, while Orthodox Christians will wait until May 6.

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