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Police find "intelligent" solution for Bratislava summit

FOR the presidential visit this week the police could have closed the city down or come up with an "intelligent way" of ensuring safety and security.

Ján Packa, director of the office to protect constitutional officials, explained at a February 17 press conference that closing down the whole downtown area and allowing access to no-one would have been the "concrete" way of going about things.

However, the current security environments allows for the intelligent option, Packa said. Bratislava life will be able to go on largely as normal, allowing people to move freely from one place to another.

However, some restrictions in Bratislava's Old Town are deemed necessary.

"There will be three zones created within Bratislava, mostly influencing the old part of the town centre. The first one is around the hotels Carlton, Danube and Devin. The other zone is around Bratislava castle and the third one is planned for the Presidential Palace and the cabinet office building," Packa explained.

These three zones will operate under a "traffic light" system, marked as red, orange and green.

Nobody will be able to enter the red zone unless they have permission to do so.

There will be no restrictions on people wishing to enter the orange zone. However, police will ask all those entering to be cautious and report anything suspicious to the nearest police officer available.

The green zone will be free to enter to all those who have a reason to enter it. However everyone will be checked with metal detectors. All cars will be checked for explosives.

Packa says that the system has to be organized to be able to check a large number of people in a short time, so as not to reduce waiting time to a minimum.

For President Bush's speech in Hviezdoslavovo square, people entering will be individually checked using metal detector frames similar to those used for security checks at airports.


Traffic restrictions planned

The police will closely monitor roads the Russians and Americans use. Three hours ahead of the delegation drive through, lorries will be stopped from entering Bratislava.

Half an hour before the delegations drive through, all traffic will be stopped from entering the city.

Some streets will be closed for traffic.

The Bratislava streets of Mostová and Jesenského will be closed, parking will be restricted at Medená, Kupeľná, Palackého, Mostová, Gorkého, and Rigeleho streets and also at the Hviezdoslavovo square. There will be diversions for the traffic going through Strelecká and Partizánska streets.

The third security zone around the Presidential Palace and the cabinet office building will be secured by parking restrictions on Banskobystrická and Spojná streets.

Another security zone with stricter checks will be Bratislava airport. All scheduled flights will be able to land. Passengers going through the airport will be processed as normal. However, security checks will be stricter. Only unscheduled flights and private jets will not be able to land at the airport.

Anton Kulich, the Police Corps President confirmed that funds of Sk205 million (€5.3 million) have been allocated to ensure safety and security for the summit.

More than 5,300 policemen will be monitoring the Bratislava streets. 400 soldiers and 400 firefighters will support them.

Military and police will be armed with weapons, including sniper rifles, pistols, weapon systems, cars and armoured cars. There is also a special chamber to carry out controlled explosions of any suspicious devices found.

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