Saturday, March 26, 2016 11:42 pm
Counter-terror measures were at the maximum level in the Italian capital since Friday, as tens of thousands of people flocked to the city for the Easter festivities.
Security has already been very high here, and around the Vatican, in the latest months.
Yet, the large inflow of tourists and pilgrims who were expected to reach the city over the 3-day-long Eastern weekend took on a new meaning in the wake of the recent Brussels attacks.
Security was further intensified around over 1,000 “sensitive” targets, including railway and metro stations, airports, embassies, institutions, historical monuments, and places of worship.
Special attention was being paid to those celebrations bound to draw a massive number of people.
On Friday night, the whole area around Rome’s Colosseum was sealed off, and heavily guarded for the annual Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession led by Catholic Pope Francis.
Thousands patiently lined up outside the two entrance gates in a quite atmosphere since mid-afternoon. Each bag and backpack was searched. Each person went first through a body inspection, and was then screened by police with hand metal detectors.
Inspections with explosive-detecting dogs had been carried out earlier in the day inside and outside the Colosseum, according to authorities.