Why Italy Is Building Concrete Barriers Around Its Most Popular Tourist Attractions
In the wake of a terror attack that killed more than a dozen people in Barcelona’s popular Las Ramblas thoroughfare, Italy has installed concrete barriers near some of its busiest tourist attractions.
Authorities installed the barriers over the weekend in Milan in the streets leading toward its famous Duomo cathedral, as well as near Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the city's iconic 19th-century shopping arcade, The Independent reported.
The new security measures were a direct response to the attack in Barcelona Thursday when militants used a truck to ram pedestrians, killing 13, and wounding over 100 people.
Van or truck attacks have become increasingly popular as a mode of terrorism in Europe, with similar attacks having taken place in Berlin, London, and France in the past 18 months.
The cities of Bologna and Turin also installed barriers between pedestrian areas and motor vehicle traffic near busy tourist centers. Palermo is reportedly planning to install similar measures.
The concrete barriers installed by Italian authorities aim to prevent large trucks ad vans from gaining immediate access to highly visited tourist sites.
Italy has stepped up security in recent years, particularly in Rome and near the Vatican as the terror organization known as the Islamic State group or ISIS has repeatedly threatened these areas.
The Italian government has deployed an additional 6,000 troops in the streets, increased surveillance, and expelled non-nationals who were deemed a security risk, Agence-France Presse reported.
In a similar tactic, the French government began to move ahead with a plan to build a bulletproof barrier around the Eiffel Tower earlier this year. The wall would cost around $20 million, and Parisians and visitors have railed against both the cost and the symbolic weight of such a barrier.
"It's pure madness!" one French resident told USA Today at the time. "It's not just a physical barrier, it's also a philosophical and a psychological barrier.”