Rome, March 23, 2017 (TNE): Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Thursday met with intelligence and anti-terrorism officials to evaluate threat levels after the London attack and ahead of an EU summit in Rome.
Police in Rome were on alert after Wednesday’s attack outside the British parliament and before Saturday’s summit to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Union’s founding document.
On Friday, 27 of the bloc’s leaders will have an audience with Pope Francis, while the commemoration of the 1957 signing of the Treaty of Rome will be on Saturday.
Security was already being scaled up in Rome because of the EU leaders’ visit and planned protests to be attended by thousands.
“Up to 25,000 people are expected to march in pro- and anti-EU demonstrations.
“Two security zones around key government buildings will be in place for Saturday’s event,” officials said.
The current security plan calls for bus and subway services to the two zones to be suspended from just past midnight on Friday through Saturday.
According to the officials, pedestrians will be banned from City Hall and Quirinal presidential palace areas.
One zone – named the “blue area” after the EU flag – will be off-limits to demonstrators and equipped with checkpoints and 100 new surveillance cameras.
Two marches have been authorised on Friday, with 6,500 pro-EU demonstrators expected in the morning and 13,000 anti-EU protesters in the afternoon.
Authorities have outlined different itineraries for each march in a bid to keep them geographically separate and at different times. (TNE)