NEWS

Arms and Olympic escorts

Security officials accompanying foreign Olympic teams in Athens during next summer’s Games will under no circumstances be allowed to carry arms, the government said yesterday, and claimed negative coverage of Greece’s 2004 security arrangements in the international press is usually followed by advances of a financial nature. Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis said guards traveling with foreign delegations would not be included in operational planning. «There is no question of any foreign power getting involved in the security plan,» he told Flash radio. «Imagine a bus full of athletes with a security escort on board, unbeknownst to the Greek police. If officers realize he is carrying a gun, there will be a bloodbath… Under no circumstances may escorts carry guns.» The USA and Australia plan to bring their own guards for the Games. Floridis also claimed that critical press reports on 2004 security often have business connotations. «Usually, a few days after [such a report], somebody turns up and asks to see us and offer us their good services… They think we are completely naive.»