This year the traditional processions of Easter, and the carriages of El Bollo and the Meal on the Street of Avilés will be celebrated under extreme security measures. It is the consequence of the Government maintaining level 4 alert after the jihadist attacks that have been happening since the summer of 2015. In addition to increasing the number of uniformed and civilian clothed agents, the pass of trucks will be prohibited by setting up bollards, planters and mobile barriers along the streets where the processions will go through, and those which necessarily have to pass will be subject to security controls, as confirmed yesterday by sources of the National Police.
Last week there were several coordination meetings between the National Police Corps and the local police of the big cities to prepare the surveillance devices. No data will be provided on the number of agents with which security is increased, nor their location. Only that agents of the Police Intervention Unit will deploy with arms belonging to the military units of the Army, although they will not be visible so as not to create alarm among the citizens. There will also be civilian clothed agents among the public in acts in which there is a gathering of people.
?The increase in the number of tourists expected to visit the region during the Easter holidays this year is added to the traditional processions. Security has also been reinforced at the Asturias Airport and train and bus stations.
The largest security measures will be deployed in the three major cities of the region: Gijón, Oviedo and Avilés, although depending on activities in other locations, such as in Luarca, specific measures will also be taken, police sources explained.
Asturias is a safe region with delinquency rates well below the national average. But the fact that the Government keeps the alert for risk of terrorist attack in level 4 out of a maximum of 5, forces to apply the same security measures throughout the country, but without causing alarm.
Level 4 was established in June 2015 following the attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait. The Berlin truck crash last December, with 19 casualties, caused the Government to decide to keep it indefinitely. The latest attack in Stockholm, where four people died and yesterday - Palm Sunday - in Egypt, with about 50 deaths, have led to the need to increase security even more. But that does not mean going one step further and ordering level 5, which would even mean the support of the Army in the street, which is considered excessive and not recommended by experts.
No city of Asturias is among those at greatest risk of being attacked in Europe, but according to the National Police Corps, "when it comes to security, you can never lower your guard". Hence, in the Principality the same measures are applied as in large cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville or Bilbao.
Police sources indicated that local police will follow the same guidelines as last December for the Christmas festivities, in which New Year's Eve and the Three Wise Men Kings' parades were very complex dates for the security forces because of the agglomeration of people in these activities.