Tuesday, Aug 5, 2008
The deployment began with military-style precision at 7am sharp as soldiers took up positions outside key strategic points across the country, including as train stations, cathedrals and monuments.
In total, 3,000 troops from all sections of the armed forces will be on patrol alongside traditional officers as the controversial Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government gets tough on crime.
However, the sight of troops on streets alarmed many visitors and locals alike – one 70-year-old pensioner from Essex who refused to give her name described her amazement at seeing armed soldiers.
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The woman, who was walking through Rome with her husband, said: “I think it’s very sad – it reminds me of a time gone by and is very concerning. I really don’t see the point of it.
“It makes you think there is some sort of civil war going on – which there isn’t. I would have expected to see them in a South American banana republic not in a European capital.
“I think it is a bit repressive and, if anything, will increase the fears of locals and tourists – the majority of them fortunately don’t know what it is like to live through a war.”
This article was posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 4:01 am