European cities ramp up security for New Year
BERLIN/PARIS, Dec 30: European capitals tightened security on Friday ahead of New Year's celebrations, erecting concrete barriers in city centres and stepping up police numbers after the Islamic State attack in Berlin last week that killed 12 people.
In the German capital, police closed the Pariser Platz square in front of the Brandenburg Gate and prepared to deploy 1,700 extra officers, many along a party strip where armored cars will flank concrete barriers blocking off the area.
"Every measure is being taken to prevent a possible attack," Berlin police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf told Reuters TV. Some police officers would carry sub-machine guns, he said, an unusual tactic for German police.
Last week's attack in Berlin, in which a 24-year old Tunisian ploughed a truck into a Christmas market, has prompted German lawmakers to call for tougher security measures.
In Milan, where police shot the man dead, security checks were set up around the main square. Trucks were banned from the centres of Rome and Naples. Police and soldiers cradled machine guns outside tourists sites including Rome's Colosseum. —Reuters