Europe’s oldest flea market closed on safety concerns

Paris, Aug 6 (IANS) The French city of Lille will not be holding its 2016 La Braderie de Lille, a globally famous flea market, over fear of terrorist attacks, the city’s mayor has said.

“It’s heart-wrenching to make this decision,” Xinhua news agency quoted Martine Aubry, the city’s mayor, as saying on Friday.

The annual street market, dating back to the 12th century, is known as the biggest and oldest flea market in Europe.

It is supposed to take place on the first Sunday of September in Lille city, and used to attract millions of visitors from all over the world.

Though some local vendors expressed regret and even anger over the decision, Aubry insisted that upgraded security measures such as sharpshooters, riot police and helicopters go against the spirit of the annual event.

France is still in a state of emergency after a spate of terrorist attacks. On July 14, as many as 84 persons were killed in the city of Nice when a heavy duty white truck ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day. Two weeks later, a priest was murdered by a man in Normandy.

The Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for both the attacks.

On Friday, French police arrested an Afghan asylum seeker who may have been planning “an imminent terrorist attack”, according to local state-run radio.

–IANS

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