Bulgaria steps up security at strategic sites around the country
Armed security forces were deployed around various strategic sites in Bulgaria on March 4 as the country stepped up security measures, with the Prime Minister saying that reports had been received that prompted the steps.
On the second day of Bulgaria’s four-day long weekend that began with its national day on March 3, armed police took up positions at the main railway station in the country’s capital city Sofia and at the airport and other places were large groups of people gathered.
Police carried out checks on individuals at various places, according to a March 4 report by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television.
Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that there had been reports that required followup and pending the outcome of the checks, “we have taken all preventative measures”.
“We had some reports that had to be checked and while this is continuing, we have taken all preventative measures. The world is at war and because of this we are conducting this exercise, we are poised to be prepared for the heaviest situation and we have rehearsed all possible options, including closure of border checkpoints in the event of a migrant wave and pressure from Greece or Macedonia,” Borissov said.
Bulgarian military and police were to begin a joint exercise on March 5 on joint border protection, as ordered by Borissov at a regular Cabinet meeting earlier in the week. Borissov gave the order as the crisis at the Greek-Macedonian border deteriorated, with a severe buildup of asylum-seekers at the border between two of Bulgaria’s neighbouring countries.
BNT said that intelligence, counterintelligence and internal security services were constantly analysing the situation in the region and Europe given what was seen as a high risk resulting from the situation in the Middle East and in Turkey, where there was seen to be a high risk of terrorist action.
Intelligence services also saw high risk terrorist threats in Greece, the report said.
The places seen as most vulnerable were those were there were concentrations of large groups of migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa.
Given the terrorist attacks in Paris, there is a high level of terrorist threat in Western Europe, the report noted.