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Travel

Venice steps up security for Carnival celebrations

Following the crime spree against hundreds of women that hit Germany during New Year's Eve revelry, Venice has decided to boost security for its upcoming carnival festival.

Carnival of Venice, after Brazil's Rio celebrations, is internationally the best known festival. Starting from Jan. 23, 2016 the northern Italian lagoon city fills with crowds of masked party-goers. But after the New Year's Eve attacks in Germany's Cologne where hundreds of women were sexually assaulted and robbed, Venice authorities have decided to step up security.

The pre-Lenten festival known locally as "Carnevale", which begins runs until Feb. 9,2016 sees tourists in masks and costumes throng Venice's car-free streets. The new security plan includes deploying extra police, including plainclothes officers, and establishing a command post near St. Mark's Square, the heart of the canal-laced city.

In an apparent reference to the extremist attacks that bloodied Paris, Venice's prefect's office said the "overall international scenario" had "sparked worry." Venice authorities also said evacuation procedures were devised for Carnevale revelers in case of emergencies.

at/ks (afpe)