Security hike at MWC amid terror threat fears

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Record number of officers to be deployed – plain-clothed security in venue to ensure safety 

The GSMA is adding extra security to ensure this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona goes ahead safely, as threats of terrorism continue to spread fear across the world.

The annual event, which is expected to attract more than 93,000 people from across more than 200 countries, is due to take place at the Fira Gran Via next month (February 22-25).

The GSMA, who has been running the event since 1987, and in Barcelona since 2006, confirmed to Mobile News it has been working closely with local Catalan police (Mossos d´Esquadra) over fears the conference could become a potential terrorist target.

“The security alert level in Europe is high following the terrorist attacks in France and we are working to address this both outside and within the MWC venue,” said a GSMA spokesperson.

Security plan

“During MWC, there is a very strong citywide security plan led by Mossos d´Esquadra and we have been working with them to put additional security measures in place. At a venue level, we have been working with our partner Fira de Barcelona in addition to the Mossos d´Esquadra to ensure enhanced security measures inside the venue as well,” the spokesperson added.

In November, the GSMA was forced to postpone its annual Mobile 360 event in Brussels (rescheduled for June), after threats against the city saw its terror threat level raised to four – meaning an attack was imminent, and public areas were placed on lock-down. While threat levels in Brussels have since been lowered to three, Spain, like the UK, remains at level four.

Additional officers

The GSMA spokesperson told Mobile News they were confident the event will go ahead as planned and without incident.

Neither the GSMA, nor the Mossos d’Esquadra would confirm specific measures around security to be planned during this year’s event as Mobile News went to press. However, Mobile News understands more than 2,000 officers, a record number for the event, are set to be deployed to ensure attendees remain safe during the three-day conference. Plain-clothed officers, and those in uniform, will patrol the halls inside the venue.

A spokesperson for the Mossos d’Esquadra told Mobile News: “We are still working on the security measures for the MWC.

“Since the attacks against Charlie Hebdo last year, we increased the terrorist threat. We have reinforced the security in all the events that are held in Barcelona.”

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