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Montreux Christmas market beefs up security plan

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Montreux Christmas market beefs up security plan
09:20 CET+01:00
Montreux Noël, which comprises one of the biggest Christmas markets in Switzerland, has introduced extra security measures this year in light of recent terror attacks in Europe.

Speaking to Le Matin, the event's director, Yves Cornaro, said the town authorities asked him to review security arrangements and put extra measures in place, as was the case during other big events this year such as last summer's Fêtes de Genève, when concrete blocks were erected to prevent lorries accessing the festival site.

That decision was taken as a result of the July 14th terror attack in Nice, France, when a man drove a truck through crowds watching Bastille Day fireworks, killing more than 80 people.

Cornaro confirmed to Le Matin that extra security barriers would be erected at Montreux Christmas market this year.

“We approved these measures because accidents can happen, even without a direct attack,” he said.

Organizers have also put in place an evacuation plan with a rapid alert system for stall-holders, and have changed the layout of the market to allow more escape routes.

“This will also be useful for emergency evacuation should we get a storm like ‘Lothar',” said Cornaro, referring to a violent windstorm that caused considerable damage and killed 14 people when it hit Switzerland in December 1999.

One of the country's most famous Christmas events, Montreux Noël has been running for 22 years and attracts around 550,000 people every year.

As well as a large market of 160 stalls along Montreux's lakeside promenade, it includes a Christmas village in Caux, above the town, and Santa's grotto on top of the mountain Rochers-de-Naye.

This year a new ‘elves village' will be set up in the gardens of Montreux's Barrière Casino comprising activities for kids including candle and chocolate-making workshops, face-painting and puppet shows.

Montreux Noël runs opens this Thursday and runs until December 24th.

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