Parisian authorities on Thursday announced that the symbol of France, the Eiffel Tower, will soon be surrounded by bulletproof glass walls measuring about 2.5 metres (8 feet) in height to safeguard against any terrorist attacks on the monument.
The walls will be built during this autumn at the southern and northern ends of the landmark and are estimated to cost about 20 million euros (around Rs 142 crore), according to the Paris city hall.
On the western and eastern sides of the monument, the ‘inelegant temporary’ barriers that were built around the tower during the Euro 2016 football tournament will be replaced by ornate fencing.
Deputy Mayor of the City, Jean-Francois Martins, said, “The terror threat remains high in Paris, and the most vulnerable sites, starting with the Eiffel Tower, must be the object of special security measures.”
Martins further added that the glass walls will forbid individuals or vehicles from storming the site, which is visited by more than six million people a year.
As quoted by the Le Parisien newspaper, some councillors were apprehensive about the walls as they thought it would turn the tower into a ‘fortress’. They feared that it could drive away tourists who simply want to take snaps under the tower without visiting the tower.
However, Martins said that after undergoing security checks, visitors would continue to have access to the foot of the tower, free of charge.
“Removing the existing unsightly barriers would give visitors and locals both a similar view of the monument,” Martins said. “Architects will design the walls so they blend in with the river, which borders the tower to the north, and with the Champ de Mars park to the south," he further added.
The country has been on high alert since 2015. Security has been boosted around the tourist sites, transport hubs and religious worship places after the Jihadist attacks that claimed the lives of more than 238 around the country between January 2015 and July 2016.
The tower, which was inaugurated for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, will undergo a major upgrade as part of the bid.
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