Cannes Bomb Scare: The Croisette Shuts Down in Front of Palais

The entrance to the Palais in Cannes was closed briefly Saturday afternoon after a bomb scare due to a “suspicious” item.

The Cannes press office confirmed that there was a suspicious package found on the street but not inside the Palais.

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Police officers shut down part of the Croisette, the street that runs in front of the Palais, and prevented pedestrians from crossing in either direction. A specialist police unit was observed inspecting a rucksack in the middle of the crosswalk. Both La Croisette and the Palais entrance were reopened at 3.10 p.m. local time.

“There was something they thought was a bomb, but there was no bomb,” a woman manning the Information Desk at the Marche told Variety. “They closed the street when I was going to lunch, but then I heard it’s open again by the time I came back.”

Another woman working for the festival’s security office said, “It was a mistake,” but declined to elaborate.

The incident happened right after a screening of Yolande Zauberman’s “The Belle From Gaza” finished. That film, which is directed by the only Israeli director with a film in the festival’s official lineup, has proved to be a hot-button title because it revolves around trans Palestinians who cross from Gaza to Tel Aviv to live their true identities. But “Belle From Gaza” was playing in a theater outside of the Palais and Marche complex.

Several films were playing at that time inside the Palais including Jean-Pierre Melville’s “Army of Shadows” and Halfdan Ullmann Tondel’s “Armand,” while Claude Barras’ “Savages” was in the process of cueing up. None of the theaters were evacuated, security staff told Variety.

The festival told Variety that after determining that the item was on city grounds versus its own property, it deferred any questions to the City of Cannes police department. The police declined comment.

The bomb scare comes amid heightened security during the festival. Visitors to the Palais have their bags searched and must pass individually through a metal detector arch, leading to long lines. Squads of soldiers with automatic rifles patrol the streets both by the Palais and along the main shopping street, Rue d’Antibes.

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