Parliament to beef up security

New measures will see drivers stopped at the main gates, but won’t affect cyclists or pedestrians

December 18th, 2012 10:54 am| by admin

All public traffic passing through parliament’s main entrance will be stopped out of security concerns, it has been decided, although the restictions will not apply to pedestrians or cyclists and are not expected to be enforced for a few more months.

Folketingets Præsidium, parliament's executive committee, has finally decided to follow the advice of the domestic intelligence agency PET, which in 2009 urged traffic restrictions in order to minimise the risk of a bomb attack.

“It has been difficult to ignore the advice from PET,” Mogens Lykketoft (Socialdemokraterne), the chairman of Folketingets Præsidium, told Berlingske newspaper. “Other Nordic countries have already restricted motor traffic.”

A temporary solution will be implemented in a few months time, followed by permanent barriers that will only lift for important guests, deliveries and other specially-registered vehicles.

The decision to restrict traffic has not been welcomed by opposition party Venstre, which also opposed increasing security when it was first proposed.

“I know people will say this is only a small step, but it’s a step in the wrong direction,” Venstre’s deputy chairman Kristian Jensen told Berlingske. “It will increase the distance between politicians and the people.”

Others argued that it was high time that security around parliament was beefed up, among them MP Pia Kjærsgard, a member of both Dansk Folkeparti and Folketingets Præsidium.

“We live in a country that has steadily become a terrorist target, and I think we need to take that seriously,” Kjærsgaard told Berlingske. “I have been coming here for almost 29 years, and when I started there were neither bulletproof doors nor security at the entrance. But we have to acknowledge that reality has changed,  and we have to adapt to it.”

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