(Lisbon) The Portuguese government is taking security precautions for the Pope's visit to Fatima seriously. The Catholic Church head is in Fatima. There, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin, Francis will celebrate a Pontifical Mass, and sanctify the two seer children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
Portugal has not only concentrated strong police units in Fatima and secured the access to roads to the pilgrimage site with large concrete blocks. On the roofs around the sanctuary, snipers are posted. "The great square in front of the pilgrimage churches, with all the restraint of the security forces, looks to the attentive observer, like the forecourt of the Western Wall, which is constantly being watched by Israeli snipers. Each sniper position consists of three men. Two observers with binoculars and a shooter," said a Fatima pilgrim.
The concrete blocks were already set up at the beginning of the year to prevent an assassin commandeering a truck and driving it into the crowd, as most recently followers of the jihad militia Islamic State (IS) did on the Breitscheidplatz in Berlin and before in Nice.
A total of 6,000 policemen are deployed in Fatima to guarantee the safety of the Pope and the many pilgrims who have come to the Shrine to mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions and canonizations. Helena Fazenda, secretary general of the Interior Ministry has said that there were "no elements" that are expected to lead a possible terrorist attack.
Text: Andreas Becker
Image: Secretum meum mihi (Screenshot)
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