So I thank all the reception of the first post regarding all the fences and walls that a serious number of countries are building in europe. I, as a Spanish speaking person, have to admit that there is a lot of valuable information to share to an English-speaking audience. I want to share more information that i found online about this subject. As it was in the first post, this data is taken from Twitter user @xiomirb, and you can check the entire article from its original source in Spanish here.
"November 17th, 2015: François Hollande, President of France, announced drastic changes in the constitution, in order not to benefit the country’s growth, but to defend it because, he insisted, “is at war”:
• Changes in legislation about state of emergency, were set to give more law enforcement power for the police to check on suspects, harden the prison sentences and giving more competence to the executive branch of the government.
• Changes to strengthen the number of police (5,000) and justice officials (2,500).
• Changes to restrict entry into the customs (1,000 more officials), greater control on the Internet and social networks.
All of that is oriented to avoid transferring all the authority to the army because, the current legislation of the state of emergency only contemplates an exterior war with another country, but now is an internal war. In 2009 the French government tripled the number of surveillance cameras on the streets, pointing out the need of them “in the face of terrorism”. Although, at the beginning of 2015, the police force had been reinforced with 320 soldiers; At the end of the same year, with 10,000 soldiers, "Operation Sentinel" was created: a deployment of soldiers who patrol the 830 points likely to be attacked by terrorists, 7,000 of them permanently, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that costs 1,000,000 euros per day.
By mid-2016, 9,000 new police officers had been hired, 1,200 people had been prosecuted for jihadism. Since 2013, 16 attacks had been aborted, and 160 terrorism suspects had been arrested; with a total of 357,564 members of the state security forces patrolling the streets, reinforcing security in 11,719 sites, and 10,500 people were being investigated for radicalization.
And still with all this (and much more), 70% of French population still felt unsafe. And they had reasons for it. The Nice bombing in July 2016 happened, where Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed 85 people and wounded 303, hitting them with a truck, while enjoying the celebration of Bastille Day.
So the counter-terrorism measures increased:
• 15,000 reserve officers were added to the "Operation Sentinel".
• Safety drills were included in the schools, such as the "Mock drill", in which, for example, 3-year-old children are taught to "play hide-and-seek": in silence and in darkness, they move to one of the dormitories of the school and they lie down in the ground so that they do not find them. At the end of the game, they are given candies as a reward because everyone has won.
• Other measures in schools have been forcing all students of 14/15 years to take first aid courses; modify the times of entry and exit of the schools, to avoid crowded groups that may be the focus of attacks; registration of students' backpacks at the entrance; reduction of guided tours outside the center; review of the security conditions of study trips, which can be canceled if necessary, as was the case in March 2016, when the transfer of French schoolchildren to the United Kingdom was suspended following the Westminster Bridge attack.
• A school measure that has caught my attention is to enable smoking areas inside the centers to prevent students who smoke from going outside.
• Events that involve large crowds have been canceled due to the economic cost that the protection of the same supposes, as it was the case of the Fair of Lille, one of the biggest flea markets of Europe, whose celebration goes back to the XII century, and that was canceled in 2016 for not being able to assume the security expenses. 10,000 vendors and 2.5 million visitors were harmed. As well as the hoteliers in the area, who usually generate 10% of their business volume, during the fair. It is estimated that the losses were tens of millions of euros. Throughout the year, 15 cities canceled their firework shows for the same reason.
• The parties of Bayonne, saw their activities very limited, having to cancel the day dedicated to children or the inaugural mascletá, among others.
• Events such as the air rally of the French Patrol, the Berck-Sur-Mer Festival, the Open Air Film Festival, the procession of the Assumption in Notre Dame, the New Year's Eve fireworks in Paris ... all canceled.
• These cancellations have reached limits such as the prohibition of a march in honor of the victims of the attack in Nice.
• The Louvre Museum has drastically reduced the number of school visits that it authorizes.
• Backpacks have been banned on the beaches. Many shopping centers make records to customers before allowing them access.
• Installation of physical barriers in places of risk, such as bollards in the Walk of the English, cement blocks in the Christmas market of the Champs-Élysées, or the construction of a glass wall around the Eiffel Tower (wall that costs 25 million euros). Currently, it is protected with metal fences.
• Conversion of streets that were previously open to pedestrian traffic only, such as the banks of the Sena River. Although it maintains open access for emergency vehicles, partially blocked with police vehicles.
• Freedom of detention and registration for the police, without the need for a court order.
• Facility when placing electronic anklets to people who are considered a danger to the country, with limit of movement area.
• Recovery of compulsory military service, for 1 month, so that citizens can protect their homeland.
Some of these measures are due to Hollande, and others to Macron, who has continued the plan to tighten the laws, seeking to end an extendable state of emergency, to make it the usual state of the country, although many already qualify all this as a permanent state of emergency, because many of these extraordinary measures are prolonged indefinitely. Despite the loss of rights, liberties and privacy, 62% of the French admit to be favorable to these new laws, if this guarantees their security against Islamist attacks.
And the truth is that they seem to be having an effect. Now the "sentinels" have become the focus of attention of many radical Islamists, who prefer to attack them... or was this not the intention? Of the 16 jihadist attacks that France has suffered after the one in Nice, 7 of them have been against members of Operation Sentinel, leaving 22 soldiers wounded and one dead.
France is just an example. Similar measures are carried out throughout Europe, although some camouflage us with absurd excuses, such as reducing Madrid's traffic problems at Christmas, restricting access to non-resident vehicles in some areas or converting two-way streets in a single direction . Forcing pedestrians to walk in one direction, avoiding crowds of people and converting Gran Vía into a totally pedestrian street, are some measures that we are seeing in Spain, reminiscent of French ones.
In streets such as Preciados, Montera or El Carmen, and in places of interest such as Puerta del Sol, pots or bollards have already been placed to improve safety.
Countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have also added 2 mock attacks to the school year.
In addition, Belgium has also introduced many changes in its laws to adapt to the new times such as the abolition of the law that prohibited registrations or detentions between 9 o'clock at night and 5 o'clock in the morning, for which the terrorist Salah Abdeslam was not arrested two days after the attack on November 13, 2015 in Paris, when it was known that he was in a house in Brussels.
Venice has had to position snipers in the Catholic Plaza San Marcos (ironic, right?) And its mayor has warned that "are willing to send with Allah who shouts Allahu Akbar. The goodness is over. "
The United Kingdom placed barriers on several bridges to prevent the recurrence of attacks such as last March in Westminster or June in London Bridge.
Sweden placed bollards after the Nice bombing in 2016. Trying to decorate the streets a bit at the same time that made them safer, the bollards had the shape of lions.I can not measure the visual impact that they generated in the Swedish population, but its uselessness was demonstrated in the attack by abuse on April 7, in Stockholm.
Germany has also protected its most iconic sites with concrete blocks, such as the Potsdamer Platz or the Brandenburg Gate:
Austria even allows its citizens to decorate them.
So the business for all these companies is booming. Manufacturers of bollards and barriers, are making big cash. The manager of Anortec, Marc Basany, reported of a sales increase of 500% only in Germany. The demand for them from France, shot up 300% in the first 6 months of 2017, he says. The Catalan company says that 70% of its income comes from imports to Western countries at this time: Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Canada, etc.
In 2016, they invoiced 2.8 million euros in bollards.
Its competitor in Spain, Benito Urban, is betting more on the concrete or sand boxes, up to 700kg that protects and decorates at the same time. Although claims to have sold 7,000 mobile concrete walls because they do not involve installation costs.
Each one costs about 200 euros.
Between Spain, Catalonia, Madrid and the Basque Country are its main buyers. Although Seville, Santander, Valencia or Mallorca have also placed their orders. Likewise, we are all aware that it is impossible to protect every street, every square, every avenue and, by protecting some areas very well, we divert the attention of terrorists to others.
Soon, Europe will be like Hebron. I cannot help but see the resemblance to the United Kingdom during World War II, preparing for the possible Nazi invasion.
- In New York, the famous Christmas Market of Union Square, has been renamed Market Street and there are barely two stands of Christmas decorations.
- The one in Amsterdam, Winter Parade; Brussels, Winter Pleasures; London, Winter Village; Munich, Winter Festival (its logo includes a snowman with a burka); Kreuzberg, Winter Market. France directly canceled markets like Lyon because of the security costs involved.
- In Denmark, schools cancel the Mass to commemorate the start of Christmas in the wake of events such as the "Syrian Week".
- Scotland has invested € 500,000 in 23 "Winter Festivals" so Muslims can ignore that Christians celebrate Christmas.
- In a German school, after the complaint of a Muslim student, it was forbidden to sing any carol that had Christian references (hello?)
- Another scholl of Milano (Italy), renamed the Christmas holidays as "The great Festival of Happy Holidays."
- In a Norwegian school, they even alternated reading passages from the Bible and the Koran.
- Madrid celebrated these days the "International Fair of Cultures".
So, you know, pass security checks to enter a shopping center, get used to your 3yo children play to avoid a massacre of jihadist terror, and fed up with singing "Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer" but, as they say our governments: act normally. Do not give them the pleasure of thinking that we are afraid of them 😉."
Now i ask you this question:
Does America need to strengthen the security measures in the big cities to confront this before it gets worse?