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US Embassy fence causes Bratislava protest

OVER 100 people protested on February 21 the plans of the United States Embassy in Bratislava to build a three-metre high security fence in the city's historic centre, the SITA news wire wrote.

Another protest was planned for February 28. The organiser, Marián Nemec, said that a petition against the construction would be part of the second event.

The protesters argue that the fence would damage the architecture of the historic Hviezdoslav Square.

However, embassy officials claim that the fence is inevitable to secure the safety of embassy employees.

The embassy has the right to protect its surroundings based on an agreement it signed with former Bratislava Mayor Jozef Moravčík in 2002. According to the agreement, the city gives the United States exclusive and unrestricted rights to control access to the security zone, including the right to stop traffic.

However, according to the civil association com.Plot, the Regional Office for Historical Monuments breached the law when it approved the construction of the fence.

Speaker of Parliament Pavol Hrušovský also criticised the plans.

"At a time when walls and barriers are being torn down around the world, building this fence in the capital of Slovakia would not be good," Hrušovský said.

The Bratislava City Council has proposed about 10 new locations for the embassy, four of which are city property.

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