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Extra security measures in place for terror-hit Berlin Christmas market

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Extra security measures in place for terror-hit Berlin Christmas market
The 'ring of steel' being constructed at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market, scene of a terror attack in 2016. Photo: DPA
10:44 CET+01:00
It's been almost two years since a lorry ploughed into a Christmas market in Berlin, claiming 12 lives, including the Polish driver of the truck, and injuring dozens of others.

Now, as the market at Breitscheidplatz, western Berlin, gets set to open on Monday November 26th, workers have been securing the area with huge steel baskets, reported local newspaper B.Z.

It’s just one of the new measures being put in place to make the area more safe.

Since Monday, workers have been building more than a hundred square lattice baskets on the sides of the square and screwing them together to form a row.

The baskets will form protective ring made of steel, sand and concrete around the site that was hit by tragedy just days before Christmas 2016.

The scene after a lorry ploughed into the Christmas market in December 2016. Photo: DPA

The steel baskets, called Terrablocks by experts, are part of a pilot project by the Berlin Senate, reported the Berliner Zeitung.

The Senate is investing €2.6 million in the new blocking elements, which will later become the property of the police.

In addition to the 160 wire baskets, which are connected together and when finished will stand along the side of the Christmas market, 13 heavy steel pedestals will be erected at another part of the square near Hardenbergstraße.

Meanwhile, 70 mobile bollards, so-called truck blocks, will be installed at the pedestrian entrances, leaving space for pedestrians - but none for vehicles.

The Senate assures that the barriers will be able to withstand a 40-ton truck. What is being tested here could surround Christmas markets in the coming years, the Berliner Zeitung reported.

Security measures are also being put in place at other Christmas markets across Berlin (of which there are more than 70), although they vary from site to site, RBB reported.

SEE ALSO: The day after the Berlin truck attack - how it happened

Authorities are looking at developing new guidelines for the protection of public spaces, and the concept in Berlin could be rolled out elsewhere.

According to the Senate, the combination of various barriers will provide "unique access protection" in Germany against terrorist attacks by trucks, reported B.Z.

Terrorist Amris Amri, from Tunisia, hijacked a truck on December 19th, 2016, killed its Polish driver and drove the vehicle through the market, claiming 11 more lives and wounding more than 70 people, some severely.

He was shot dead by Italian police while on the run in Milan, four days after the attack which was claimed by the terror group known as Islamic State (IS).

On the second anniversary of the attack on Wednesday December 19th, there will be a commemoration ceremony at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, also known as the Gedächtniskirche.

It is expected that wreaths will be laid at the site of the attack. A minute's silence is also planned for the victims. 

Last year, Angela Merkel met with relatives of the victims and survivors of the attack. The Chancellor had been accused of not reaching out to those affected by the attack in the aftermath of the terror.

Merkel and other politicians also attended the ceremony to unveil the memorial for the victims of the terrorist attack. 

A golden line runs down the steps from the foundations of the Gedächtniskirche on to the square. The names of the victims are engraved along the line.

Meanwhile, there were also concerns raised over the way authorities handled the Amri case. It emerged that Amri, who arrived in Germany in 2015 and registered under several different identities, should have been deported.

German media also revealed that the Tunisian had been under close surveillance by Germany's secret service but they failed to act in time.

 
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Bindbier - 21 Dec 2018 02:20
Maybe Poland and their immigration policy have something. What is wrong with protecting one's country and people? I love Germany, however, I have seen the destruction and erosion of the great culture due to the onslaught of the refuges/immigrants that don't want to assimilate. Just look at the neighborhood a few blocks from the Muenchen Bahnhof. Throughout Europe Christian culture is under continuous assault from these people that have forcibly pushed their way into Germany, causing conflict in the Jewish and Western societies. When is the last time there was a migration of Europeans to the Middle East? When was the last Church or Synagogue built in these same countries that have sent so many of there people to Europe and decided that they would just build a new home in the country they decided to "immigrate" to abusing the social welfare systems, bending that countries laws and choosing not to add to the culture but to expect that culture to bend the wants and needs.
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