France will deploy an unprecedented 10,000 troops around the country to boost security of sensitive sites, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said today.
President François Hollande ordered the military mobilization in the wake of last week’s killing of 17 civilians by three gunmen, Le Drian said after an interministerial crisis meeting at the Elyées presidential office, Agence France-Presse reported.
“This is the first time for a mobilization of this size” on the national territory, Le Drian said.
The military deployment follows yesterday’s mass demonstration of nearly 4 million across the nation for freedom of the press. An estimated 1.5 million people walked here to protest against the slaying of journalists and police officers at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a linked killing of four Jews at a kosher supermarket last Friday.
The US ambassador took part in the demonstration, but the absence of President Barack Obama or other high level officials has drawn a critical media coverage.
Some 10,000 troops will be deployed, with the agreement of the Joint Chief of Staff, to protect sensitive sites by tomorrow evening, Le Drian said. Joint Chief of Staff Army Gen. Pierre de Villiers stood by the minister when he spoke.
The mobilization has started this morning and will continue, thanks to a fast response and professionalism, which helps the armed forces to contribute to the national security, Le Drian said.