PARIS — With some 2.5 million people descending on France for the European Championship soccer tournament, which kicks off Friday, French officials have acknowledged that even as they take all possible steps to prevent and deter terrorist attacks, there is no such thing as zero risk.
In Paris, the police fear they will be so overstretched that they have asked the government to close huge and popular “fan zones” for some matches. So far, the government has demurred, even while conceding the risks.
“We must say the truth to the French people: 0 percent precautions means 100 percent risk, but 100 percent precautions does not mean 0 percent risk,” Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, said in late May.
At a forum last week, Mr. Cazeneuve was categorical: “I cannot guarantee that we will not have a confrontation with terrorists.”
The American and British governments have effectively warned their citizens to stay away, calling the crowded sports events, as well as transportation hubs and other venues broadcasting the games, “potential targets for terrorist attacks.”
Security forces have staged nearly 30 drills in cities across France, preparing for bombs, chemical weapons and even drone attacks. Police reinforcements will be brought to Paris from around the country. Some 13,000 private security guards have been hired nationwide.