Most Germans unruffled by terrorism alerts

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1 Dec, 2010 Updated Wed 1 Dec 2010 11:58 CEST
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Despite dire warnings by authorities and the heavy police presence at train stations, airports and tourist sites, the overwhelming majority of Germans have greeted the latest terrorism alert with a shrug, a poll published on Wednesday found.

Two weeks after Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière told the nation there were “concrete indications” of an imminent attack, the Stern magazine poll reported that 86 percent of respondents were not scared or were hardly scared of an attack.

Just 4 percent said they had a “very great fear” and 9 percent had a “great fear” of terrorism.

Nor have the country's traditional Christmas markets been hit by the warnings, in spite of popular speculation that they are a prime target. Police union boss Rainer Wendt said last month: "As long as the Christmas markets are going, we have to assume there could be an attack at any time."

Just 5 percent, meanwhile, had changed their personal behaviour in response to the warning, which in most cases meant avoiding heavily visited spots such as tourist attractions.

Respondents also gave the government good grades for its management of the situation. Exactly two thirds praised the alerts as appropriate security measures. Some 18 percent felt the alerts were an overreaction, while 10 percent felt the government had downplayed the danger.

The Forsa polling firm surveyed 1002 representative, eligible voters on November 24 and 25, which were the days immediately after the Reichstag dome was closed to the public amid the terrorism fears.

Meanwhile, the head of the Bundestag’s interior committee, Wolfgang Bosbach of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, said Wednesday that citizens should expect heightened security measures to remain for at least the next several weeks.

On November 17, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière warned the nation of “concrete” concerns that there would be a terrorist attack within the month. The government ramped up security at transportation hubs and government buildings, even closing the dome of the Reichstag parliamentary building to tourists indefinitely.

“Over the next weeks we will not be in a position to scale back the security measures,” Bosbach told news agency DAPD. “After that we will re-evaluate.”

The Local/DAPD/dw



2010/12/01 11:58

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