Indonesia is deploying 100,000 police and soldiers to provide security for the 2018 Asian Games, the biggest event ever held in its terror attack-prone capital Jakarta, parts of which have been dramatically spruced up as the city readies to welcome tens of thousands of athletes and visitors.
The 18th Asian Games, which run until September 2, are being held in Jakarta, Palembang on the island of Sumatra, and in West Java. About 12,000 athletes, support staff and officials and 5000 journalists are expected.
All venues are finished and tested with only beautification work being carried out just days before Saturday’s opening ceremony, said organising committee member and Sports Ministry Secretary Gatot Dewa Broto, who pronounced the facilities “extremely wonderful.”
An opening ceremony involving 5000 performers is planned with a mythological theme, flying people and, indispensably in a country of dozens of active volcanoes, a mountain that erupts, albeit a “very small eruption,” Dewa Broto said.
The dispersion of venues is a particular challenge for security, requiring a huge number of personnel to manage everything from traffic to VIP security and terror threats, said Deputy National Police Chief Muhammad Syafruddin.
Some 100,000 police and soldiers are being deployed another 100,000 are on standby, said Syafruddin, who is also chef de mission of the Indonesian team.
“About three months ago we foiled a plot by a radical group who planned an attack during the games, but we were able to detect it and prevent it. We can say that our success in detecting possible attacks is quite significant,” he said.
Indonesia had less than the usual amount of time to prepare after the original host country, Vietnam, withdrew because of financial problems. Known for some of the world’s most congested traffic and creaking infrastructure, Jakarta initially seemed unprepared for the challenge of hosting a major sports event. But officials are confident everything is ready.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Photo courtesy of Associated Press