NEWS

Olympic security in effect July 1

Tighter security around Olympic venues will be deployed beginning Thursday, officials at the Ministry of Public Order confirmed yesterday. A total of 37,000 specially trained police, coast guard and army personnel will be deployed within and around the grounds during the Olympics. Another 4,000 police officers will arrive from the provinces early next month to be used as part of the security effort. Before the police forces move into the grounds, special teams using portable scanners and specially trained dogs will make a thorough search to ensure no suspect devices have been planted. As the security effort begins, there is plenty of work still taking place within most venues – such as the laying of cables, fitting of new carpets and painting – because of delays in construction. «Security forces will begin moving into stadiums and other installations and familiarize themselves with security equipment irrespective of the progress of works,» a high-level ministry official told Kathimerini. Greece is spending upward of 1 billion euros, a record sum, on Olympic security. As part of the security effort, and also in order to facilitate easy access to venues, there will be strict restrictions on traffic around the sports complexes from August 2-31, between 7 a.m. and midnight. Yesterday, Athens 2004, the Games organizers, distributed 56,902 circulation and parking permits to Athens area municipalities where events will take place. Of these, 42,623 (colored orange) concern Controlled Parking Zones, where circulation will be free to all but parking limited and 14,279 (colored red) are for Controlled Access and Circulation Zones, where access is limited only to those vehicles carrying the permit. Drivers must display these prominently.