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Berlin prides itself on being the casual alternative to Cannes, but in the wake of the Christmas market attack in the German capital in December, the festival has tightened security.
“We have no intel on a planned attack during the festival, but we will be on high alert,” Berlin police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel told The Hollywood Reporter. “The sight of police carrying submachine guns, which has sadly become commonplace in Berlin since the attack, will be a part of this year’s event as well.”
Wenzel said police will also restrict vehicle access to the main festival centers, including the Berlinale Palast, using concrete barriers, guarded by police, to prevent a repeat of the Christmas Market attack, in which a terrorist hijacked a truck and drove it into a packed crowd, killing 12 people. Security will be tightest around Potsdamer Platz and at the Zoo Palast cinema in western Berlin, directly across from Breitscheidplatz, where the Dec. 19 attack took place.
Festival director Dieter Kosslick said the added measures will be “as secure but also as discreet as possible,” and Wenzel confirmed plans to have plainclothes officers on duty mingling with crowds on the red carpet. “No one has canceled because of security fears. We’ve actually had even greater demand in terms of international guests,” said Kosslick. “They trust us and they can trust us.”
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