Home News French court to hear complaints over NATO summit security

French court to hear complaints over NATO summit security

Published on 30/03/2009

Strasbourg — A French court is to hear complaints from residents unhappy with the blanket security measures in place for next week’s NATO summit in Strasbourg, justice officials said Friday.

Residents who live in the high-security zones set up for the summit in the eastern French city will go before an administrative court on Tuesday to contest the security measures, a court official said.

The residents will have to wear special badges during the summit to move around in their neighbourhood while 26 heads of state and governments converge on the city for the two-day summit opening on Friday.

They will argue that the badges violate their freedom of movement and right to privacy, according to lawyer Pierre-Etienne Rosenstiehl.

Anti-NATO protesters are also asking the court to order police to halt visits to homes displaying protest flags on their balconies or in their windows. Police are asking residents to take them down.

A massive security clampdown will go into effect late Thursday on the eve of the summit intended to mark the 60th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

Some 11,000 police are to be deployed, with some 5,000 metal barriers on hand to control access in the city, Le Monde newspaper reported Friday.

Between 30,000 and 60,000 protesters are expected in the city.

Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries told AFP earlier this month that French authorities expected violent protests during the summit.

"I really do think that there is a very real risk of seeing peaceful protests degenerate into violence because of hooligans and anarchists who will come from across Europe," he said.

Security measures put in place for the two-day gathering of the alliance’s leaders had gone far beyond what he had imagined, Ries added.

Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie is to travel to Strasbourg on Monday to review the security detail that will include anti-riot units and even mounted officers from the Republican Guard.