French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that the European football championships in France this summer will be a "way of responding" to terrorist attacks that have placed the country on high alert.
"The [Euro 2016] should be a pursuit that includes coming together, unity, respect, tolerance and - within the context that we know - a form of response. A response to hatred. To division. To fear. To horror," Hollande said in an address to tournament organizers and members of the country's football association.
Responding to fears that tournament plans could be altered after a series of attacks in Paris prompted organizers to raise the security budget for the tournament by 15 per cent, Hollande said it would go ahead as planned with extra precautions taken.
The attacks in November that left 130 people dead targeted in part the Stade de France in St Denis where Hollande was watching a France v Germany friendly. Tensions over security were stoked by last week's attacks in Brussels.
"There was never a question of turning back or cancelling," Hollande said. "We know what happened, in Paris, in Saint Denis. We were there. Many of the people gathered here today were there in the stadium... But the Euro 2016 must be a way of responding."
Hollande's statements came before France's return to the Stade de France for a Tuesday night friendly against Russia.
The Euro 2016 is expected to draw a million foreign visitors to 51 games in 10 venues from June 10-July 10.
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