Armed guards for UK athletes?

Officials in Athens yesterday denied a British press report claiming that, due to security concerns, Britain may send marksmen and other armed guards to protect its athletes during the August Olympics. «The report creates a negative atmosphere that has nothing to do with reality,» an Athens 2004 Organizing Committee statement said. Yesterday’s story in the Times claimed Scotland Yard was considering sending armed police officers to Athens to protect the British team, adding that America and Israel also propose to send armed guards. The Athens News Agency quoted a Scotland Yard official as saying the newspaper had «jumped the gun.» Greece has ruled out allowing armed foreign guards to escort Olympic teams. Yesterday, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis discussed Olympic security with British Ambassador David Madden. He also met with NATO’s visiting top military official for southern Europe, Admiral Gregory Johnson, for talks on Greece’s request for NATO assistance in mounting the Olympic security umbrella.

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