ZAGREB, Oct 13 (Hina) – Barriers were erected in St. Mark’s Square on Monday evening in the wake of a shooting incident in which a police officer was seriously wounded, and citizens’ movement will be restricted until a longer-term solution is found through dialogue with the state institutions in the area, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
The police have restricted movement pursuant to Article 51 of the Police Duties and Powers Act which allows the police to temporarily restrict access to and movement within a certain area or detain people for various reasons including providing security for protected persons, buildings and areas, the ministry said.
The police will exercise this power in St. Mark’s Square until such time a solution is found through dialogue with the institutions that have offices in this area, namely the government, parliament, Constitutional Court, and church authorities.
That means that citizens will not be allowed into St. Mark’s Square. Only those people who have a justified reason to enter this protected area will be allowed entry.
Chief of police Nikola Milina said this morning that barriers have been erected and that no one can enter the square “without a justified reason.”
“This has compelled us to do more regarding security,” Milina said, adding that this was one of the first measures until a security arrangement was agreed.
News conferences to be held within government premises
Considering the temporarily enhanced security measures, news conferences by members of the government and other government officials will be held inside the government building, the Croatian government said in a statement on Tuesday.
The news conferences will in the future be held within the premises of the government building, in its court or its news conference hall, access by vehicles and persons to St. Mark’s Square will be restricted and there are police checkpoints for those entering the square.
“By raising security for protected buildings – the government, the parliament, and the Constitutional Court – we also want to raise security for tenants, citizens as well as reporters who cover the work of those institutions,” the government said.
The government also does not want the new security regime to affect in any way the possibility for media workers to report on the government’s activities or the availability of government members for media statements, the government said.
It noted that official media accreditations for reporters covering the government’s work will be made and updated, until which time the media coverage of government activities will be made possible for all reporters whose presence at individual events is announced in advance by their media outlets.
Government spokesman Marko Milic said media representatives will also be able to access St. Mark’s Square to cover public gatherings, on the condition of prior security checks.