1. GA-English
  2. News

More protection in the city: Politicians discuss retractable bollards in Bonn

More protection in the city : Politicians discuss retractable bollards in Bonn

After the incident of the out-of-control driver in Trier, Bonn politicians are also demanding better protection for Bonn city centre, especially in the access roads to the pedestrian zone. However, the measures demanded differ among the parliamentary groups.

The out-of-control 51-year-old driver in the city of Trier, who killed five people and injured many others, some of them seriously, has also caused great consternation in Bonn's local politics. The question of how Bonn city centre can be better protected from such acts is being addressed differently by the representatives of the different council factions.

On Wednesday, the city of Bonn told the GA on the subject that in the course of general considerations, especially after the attack at the Christmas market in Berlin near the Gedächtniskirche in 2016, when an Islamist drove a stolen truck into the crowd on Breitscheidplatz and killed twelve people, it had spoken out against permanently making more than a dozen access areas of the pedestrian zone more secure. The reason given by the city of Bonn was that even with secured access roads, delivery vehicles could be used for such an attack. In addition, fire and rescue services had to be able to reach houses quickly during operations and additional barriers would cost these services valuable time.

"It is certainly true that year-round protection measures for the pedestrian zone, similar to those for temporary events such as Christmas markets and public festivals – for example concrete protection blocks and massive barriers – are not desirable," said CDU council faction leader Guido Déus.

Nevertheless, a legitimate need for security for the population must be taken into account. "In this respect, I expect the Mayor and her administration to develop a concept on how to improve security in the city centre – especially after the terrible events of recent days". From the point of view of the CDU, automatically retractable bollards such as the one in Münsterstraße could form part of the solution.

Angelika Esch, parliamentary party leader of the SPD, expressed a similar opinion: "In order to achieve the greatest possible protection, I expect the administration to develop a solution that meets the conditions for the safe blocking of potential access routes.

Thomas Fahrenholtz of the Bürger Bund Bonn refers to the example of other municipalities, where retractable bollards have long since been installed at "critical spots" in city centres. He believes that this could at least make it more difficult for out-of-control drivers such as the one in Trier. His colleague, Johannes Schott, is surprised at the city's attitude to this issue. He points out that the city administration is meant to be drawing up a concept on the issue of permanent protection measures in Bonn city centre. "Even if no absolute 100 per cent security can be given, we still have to reduce the possibility of attacks. Since the Trier incident, there is an urgent need for action," Schott said. City spokeswoman Monika Hörig commented: "We have examined this and have come to the conclusion that additional security measures would obstruct other necessities – especially escape routes".

The Greens want to have more concrete information on this, said their parliamentary group spokesperson Tim Achtermeyer. "We have asked the administration to present its investigations to date and their consequences to politicians, so that we can form our own opinion of the current challenges.

(Original text, Lisa Inhoffen; translation, John Chandler)