The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympic Games.

Thursday, 9 February 2006

Turin's Security Concerns

As with any large scale international event, it is an unfortunate fact of life that security threats and how to deal with them take priority.

The Turin Winter Olympics, which start tomorrow, are no exception to that rule. As ever, various protest groups are seeking to maximise their exposure to the world's media by staging annoying and dangerous demonstrations during the Games.

The anti-globalisation demonstrators kicked off on Sunday, by disrupting the Olympic flame enroute to the start of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Anarchists have threatened to hold street protests in Turin to coincide with the visit of Laura Bush, who is scheduled to arrive Friday under tight security.

Now, the Games are under threat from the ongoing wave of protest over the newspaper cartoons that were first published in Denmark in September 2005.

Mario Pescante, Italy's ranking IOC member, said that the government has added two countries' delegations for special protection as a reaction to the escalating controversy over the cartoons.

It is assumed that he was referring to Denmark and Norway.

Jim Scherr, chief of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said:

"I don't think there will be disruption of the Games because of this, but you never know, so it is something we monitor very carefully."

Turin has a large Muslim population in Turin, and security officials convened in Rome this week to plan what to do in the event of protests.

Local Muslim leaders have asked their members not to disrupt the Games, or target the Danish.

To ensure safety, the Italian government has ordered a no-fly zone over Turin for Friday night's opening ceremony. Flights also will be prohibited from departing or arriving at Turin's airport throughout the ceremony.

Pescante said that security forces are prepared for the Olympics:

"In Italy we had 3 million visitors and over 100 heads of state (funeral of John Paul II). We are trained."

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