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France

Nice carnival parade changes route following Bastille Day massacre

media A giant figure of US President Trump is seen during preparations for the carnival parade in Nice Reuters/Eric Gaillard

Carnival revellers will not parade down Nice's Promenade des Anglais this year, seven months after the Bastille Day truck massacre that left 86 people dead.

The famous seafront avenue was ordered off-limits for major public events for at least a year after the 14 July jihadist attack, so the southern French city has deployed unprecedented security along an alternative route this weekend.

"Never has the level of security been so high for an event of this kind in Nice," top regional administrator Georges-Francois Leclerc told a news conference ahead of the 11-25 February carnival, one of the biggest in the world.

The parade, which has drawn up to a million revellers in the past, will take place this year along a new stretch of parkland, the Promenade du Paillon.

Inaugurated in 2013, the zone stretches 1.2 kilometres from the Promenade des Anglais north-east to the historic Place Massena.

Enclosed venue

Some 200 police will man 36 entry points to the venue, which will be totally enclosed for the event. Carnival-goers will pay five euros to attend -- more for seats in the stands.

Last year's carnival was already the object of heightened security in the wake of the November 2015 jihadist attacks in Paris, with attendance way down at some 400,000.

Cancelling the carnival would be "unthinkable", the right-wing president of the Riviera regional council, Christian Estrosi, said. "That would be a sign to the barbarians, to the terrorists, that they would have scored another victory."

After jihadist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel rammed a truck into crowds enjoying fireworks on the Promenade des Anglais for France's national day, both the Socialist government and Nice's right-wing city authorities came under severe criticism for perceived security lapses.

Since the 14 July attack, the Israeli company that provides security for the Tel Aviv airport has been among the city's advisors.

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