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Croatia prepares for pope’s visit

04. June 2011. | 08:32 08:38

Source: Emg.rs, BH Daily News, Fena, Radio NET, B92

Croatia is implementing extensive security measures ahead of Pope Benedict XVI visit this weekend. According to Zagreb Police Administration Deputy Chief Mihael Varga, police performed security checks of about 10,000 citizens, seized about 1,000 pieces of weapon and welded about 1,000 manholes.

Croatia is implementing extensive security measures ahead of Pope Benedict XVI visit this weekend.

The citizens have been instructed to close windows and not stand on their balconies while the pope is passing by.

People who decide to come to Ban Jelačić Square and Zagreb Racetrack will be searched. The pope’s visit has sparked negative reactions from a part of the public due to costs which are estimated between EUR 12mn and 14mn. Some NGOs have therefore announced protests.

Work is underway at the racetrack and everything will have to be ready in three days.

Mobile bathrooms have already been set up. It is expected that about 500 people will work at field hospitals which will be set up soon.

“Those are mostly volunteers, Red Cross members but also doctors, nurses and technicians who will provide protection at any moment,” says Croatian Health Ministry Crisis Staff’s Ante Zvonimir Golem.

Ambulance teams will be standing by, hospitals have introduced double shifts and sanitation workers and epidemiologists will be at the scene.

Police and a road maintenance company have been closing manholes and traffic light boxes along the route that the pope will take in order to prevent sabotage.

Police have announced that parking will be banned in downtown Zagreb on Saturday afternoon due to a service that the pope will hold at Ban Jelačić Square before about 50,000 people.

They will only be able to enter the fenced area with tickets and will not be able to bring in alcohol, flags or umbrellas.

All shops near the square will be closed on Saturday, including Dolac market, and changes will also be made in the routes of public transportation.

Streets around the racetrack will be closed for traffic on Sunday, when about 400,000 believers are expected to attend a mass that the pope will hold. The program will begin at 03:00 CET and will last until early afternoon.

According to Zagreb Police Administration Deputy Chief Mihael Varga, police performed security checks of about 10,000 citizens, seized about 1,000 pieces of weapon and welded about 1,000 manholes.

Police also asked the citizens to report any suspicious persons hanging around buildings on the route that the pope will take and called on them not to throw flowers on the streets.

1,250 media representatives accredited to cover pope's visit

Some 1,250 media representatives, of which 950 Croatian and about 300 foreign, are accredited to cover the apostolic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Croatia, to take place in Zagreb on June 4 and 5.

The Holy Father's visit will be covered by reporters from Italy, Germany, Poland, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States, Russia and Mexico.

Also accredited are representatives of some 30 television networks, 30 radio stations and representatives of the leading global news agencies, the Croatian Foreign Affairs and European Integration Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Alongside many Catholic media, including the Vatican television network Tele Pace and France's KTO TV, also accredited are RAI, Reuters, the Associated Press, ANSA, DPA, ORF, RAI, Polish TV, etc.

Aboard the plane with the pontiff will be some 50 reporters accredited with the Holy See from all major global media companies.

All information regarding the pontiff's visit to Croatia will be available at www.papa.hr.

The fourth visit of a pope to Croatia and the first visit of Pope Benedict XVI will help Croatia make headlines in most of the global media. This weekend Croatia will be visited by many foreign tourists which will contribute to the overall tourist promotion of the country, Tourism Minister Damir Bajs said on Thursday.

The Zagreb Tourist Board shares the minister's opinion, stressing it expects a large number of pilgrims in Zagreb on Saturday and Sunday.

Tourist facilities in Zagreb also expect more guests, except for those located downtown which will be closed down for security reasons.


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15. August - 21. August 2011.