NEWS

Two kinds of Olympic security

Government officials yesterday tackled two issues pertaining to security for the Olympic Games. In one, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis attended a security drill by the police force’s special EKAM anti-terrorism unit. In the other, Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia, who is supervising Olympic projects, discussed the issuing of permits for Olympic sites which will allow them to get fire-safety certificates and also allow the company providing security equipment to go ahead with the installation work. «All the Olympic installations will have permits to operate and they will have fire-safety certificates and be safe with regard to fires,» Palli-Petrali said. «As you can see, we are working at a quick rate.» She was speaking after a meeting with Olympic Games General-Secretary Spyros Kapralos, representatives of the fire department, the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, the Public Works Ministry and others. According to sources, a bill dealing with a number of Olympic loose ends will be presented to Parliament in mid-May. After attending the security drill at Amygdaleza near Athens, Voulgarakis expressed satisfaction with the drill which he described as «another confirmation of the security conditions in which the Olympic Games will be staged.» Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported yesterday that US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge this week included the Athens Olympics on a list of possible targets of terrorists seeking high-profile public events to influence the outcome of November’s US presidential election. US Olympians will travel to the Games on flights with extra security and will be among a handful of high-risk teams designated for additional protection, the paper said.