NATO Summit is “one of the biggest operations in years” for Brussels police
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    NATO Summit is “one of the biggest operations in years” for Brussels police

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The NATO Summit to be held on 11-12 July next is “one of the biggest operations in years,” for the Brussels police, the spokeswoman of the Brussels-Capital-Ixelles police zone, Ilse Van De Keere, said on Friday. She stressed that the Brussels police will also have to be present at other events held at the same time.

    For its part, the crisis centre has stated that the threat level for this summit has not been raised.

    The two-day summit will be held in two locations. During the day, the activities will take place at the new NATO headquarters at Haren (Brussels), while official dinners will be held at the Royal Museum of Arts and History in the Cinquantenaire Park.  Fifty-five delegations. including 29 heads of State or Government, are expected to attend.

    “For us this is a very big operation, one of the most important ones in years,“ said spokesperson Ilse Van De Keere. “Moreover, other events will be taking place at the same time, like the World Cup, Bruxelles-les-Bains or the festival of the Flemish community.; and we also need staff for routine interventions.”

    Local law enforcers will be reinforced by federal police and colleagues from other precincts. The number of soldiers will also be increased. The exact number has not been disclosed but, according to sources within the army, up to 800 soldiers are expected to be deployed.

    The threat level will remain at 2, on a scale of 0 to 4. “The Threat Assessment Coordination Body (OCAM) has conducted various analyses in recent weeks,” said Benoît Ramacker of the crisis centre. “There is no indication that would require raising the threat level, so we remain on 2.”

    “We did not carry out this assessment only for the summit itself, but also for each VIP, each delegation and each event organised on the sidelines of the summit, including the demonstrations, for reasons of security,” Ramacker added without giving any further details.

    During the summit, security perimeters will be established around NATO Headquarters, the Cinquantenaire, at the U.S. Embassy and around The Hotel, added Van De Keere. “We advise everyone to avoid these areas as much as possible. On the other hand, the subway will run as normal and all stations will be open, even if it’s possible for one of other of the station entrances to be closed,” she explained.

    The interruption of road traffic will be “kept at a minimum,” she noted, adding: “We want people’s daily lives to be disturbed as little as possible.”

    At least two demonstrations will be held on the sidelines of the summit. On Saturday, some 10,000 people are expected at the Gare du Nord station for the “Trump Not Welcome” demonstration, according to the organisers.

    On Wednesday, the “Agir Pour La Paix” organisation will be present at the Schuman Square, just outside the security zone.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times