Czech government prepares for tight-border security scenario
The Czech government on Wednesday approved a bill on state border protection which would enable the Interior Ministry to order the imposition of border checks in the event of a serious security threat to the country. Meanwhile, the army and police have been undertaking a joint training exercise along the Czech-Austrian border to prepare for such an emergency.
“Austria has indicated that at any time in the coming days it may close its borders and the Czech Republic has to be prepared for such a scenario. We are not going to let the country become a transit corridor for an uncontrolled surge of tens of thousands of migrants.”
On Wednesday 500 police officers and 300 soldiers effectively sealed off 11 border crossings, two rail crossings and all pedestrian crossings along the 464-km-long Czech Austrian border, conducting checks of vehicles and pedestrians. One of the main tests was to see how communications between the army and police function on the ground and how fast they can take up their positions. Police officers from 12 regions and soldiers from army three bases were dispatched along the border. The operation was masterminded by a crisis committee at the police presidium.
Twelve hours later Interior Minister Chovanec, who travelled along the border by car to check-out the situation at individual crossings in person, said he was satisfied with the results though some fine-tuning would be needed.
By the late evening the soldiers were back in their barracks and only a small number of officers remained at their posts along the main border crossings with Austria where they have conducted random checks of vehicles since June.