PRESIDENT Hollande’s security team forgot to take their weapons to the Rio environment summit.
Satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné revealed the mess-up, saying guards were left protecting the president “bare-handed” last week.
Inside sources have since confirmed the facts to others in the French media.
Reportedly the mistake was discovered on arrival in Rio on June 19 for the conference named informally Rio +20 (because it is 20 years since the previous important “Earth Summit” there).
Members of the GSPR presidential guard were supposed to present a case of six hand guns for inspection by local authorities, who would have checked again on departure that the guns were being returned to their country of origin. However the case was found to have been left behind.
“In my memory as a cop this is a first,” said one police officer to Le Canard Enchaîné. He added the president was told only on his return to Paris.
The man responsible for leaving behind the case has since lost his position in the GSPR, reportedly not because of the error itself but because he tried to blame someone else.
The GSPR (Groupe de Sécurité de la Présidence de la République) is part of the Service de Protection des Hautes Personalités. It is made up of police officers of the Police Nationale as well as some gendarmes (a contingent of gendarmes was reinstated by Hollande after Sarkozy removed them).
Photo: Jean-Marc Ayrault