Security drill staged in glamorous Cannes ahead of film festival

Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:30am EDT
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CANNES, France (Reuters) - With just a few weeks to go until Hollywood stars descend on Cannes for its famed film festival, the glamorous spot on the French Riviera played host to a different kind of drama on Thursday when police staged a security exercise.

The drill, which saw gunmen storm the Festival Palace -- where major celebrities come to premiere their movies -- is one of several such exercises being staged in France following the November Paris attacks.

France also hosts the Euro 2016 soccer championship this year between June 10 and July 10.

The Cannes film festival, which sees A-listers rub shoulders and partying on luxurious yachts moored in the Mediteranean Sea, kicks off on May 11 and runs over 12 days.

On Thursday, the very steps that the likes of Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster and Woody Allen will walk up next month played host to a simulation with would-be attackers running up the stairs and police attempting to secure it. Two hundred volunteers took part. France officially faces an "extremely high" security threat Following the deadly blasts in Brussels last month, France deployed 1,600 additional police officers to bolster security at its borders and on public transport.

The Islamist militant attacks in Paris in November killed 130 people.

(Additional reporting by Michel Bernouin in Cannes, Writing by Julien Pretot, editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian)