Games security in the provinces

Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis yesterday started a four-day tour of 10 Greek cities intended to inspect security measures and coordinate planning ahead of the August Olympics. Voulgarakis, who has repeatedly pledged that Greece is doing everything humanly possible to ensure that the Games are conducted in a secure environment, is accompanied by police chief Fotis Nassiakos and the force’s head of Olympic security, Vassilis Constantinidis. Their itinerary will include all four Olympic cities – Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos and Iraklion – where soccer matches will be held during the Games, as well as Komotini, Mytilene (where the Afghan Olympic team is currently training), Rhodes, Pyrgos, Ioannina and Kozani. Greece has already stepped up vigilance along the northern borders, in order to deter illegal immigrants from entering the country during the summer. Apart from routine measures, authorities are to deploy radiation detectors at airports, harbors and border crossings in order to address the potential threat of a terrorist attack using explosives to disperse radioactive materials. Yesterday, Thessaloniki police chief Constantinos Tzekis said over 1,200 officers – out of the city’s overall force of 4,500 – would be deployed on exclusively Olympics-related duties during the Games, while a further 600 would be sent to Athens to boost the thousands of officers who will be responsible for Olympic security in the capital. In Crete, the island’s police chief, Antonis Bayiardakis, said 1,100 officers would be guarding Iraklion during the Games. A total of 70,000 police, military, fire brigade, coast guard and secret service personnel will participate in the Olympic security effort, which is expected to cost over a billion euros.