NEWS

A security plan to keep Athens safe in 2004

No one is in any doubt that next year’s Olympic Games will force the residents of Attica to change their daily habits. Last week the final security plan for the Olympic Games was presented to the public. The provisions, ranging from simple traffic changes to strict controls on access to venues, give us a better idea of what form these changes will take. The designers of the plan hope to be able to allow residents and visitors to experience the Games as a sports festival and not to feel as if they have entered a military zone. However, they will also have to adjust their daily lives to the Olympic traffic ring, to restrictions on movements and to traffic bans in certain areas. People who live near Olympic venues will have to adapt to a complex system of controls, with restricted access and parking. Greece will spend at least 650 million euros on Olympic security, according to Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis. About 70,000 people will be participating in the effort around the country. Meanwhile, Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki had comforting words for those who fear difficult days ahead next August. She said she was in negotiations with union leaders over an «Olympic truce» on strikes during the Games. Attica police chief Lt. General Fotis Nasiakos expressed the certainty that the police force would rise to the challenge, the greatest in its history. The plan was outlined by the director of the Olympic Games Security Division, Major-General Vassilis Constantinidis.