President Petr Pavel announced Monday that security barriers at Prague Castle would be removed immediately and replaced with random checks. The physical barriers preventing vehicles from entering the area will remain, but Pavel plans to change this. Visitors and people who want to walk around the Hradčany area have had to undergo security checks by the police, often standing in long lines.
“Today, from noon, most of the security barriers and entry controls that led to long lines and created the strongest emotions will be removed,” President Petr Pavel announced half an hour before removing the barriers.
The barriers, which are concrete blocks that prevent vehicles from entering the castle grounds, will remain for now. “We will still work on the barriers because there is currently no alternative to protect the castle from vehicle entry,” explained Pavel.
Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan (STAN) and Police President Martin Vondrášek also attended the press conference alongside the President.
Visitors to Prague Castle will only face random checks if police officers deem them necessary. “Random checks mean that a police officer will have information from operational units, the camera system, and based on his or her experience, evaluates the behavior of visitors and luggage, and it is up to him or her to decide when to exercise the authority and make sure that the person is not violating, for example, the visitor’s regulations,” added Police President Martin Vondrášek.
According to Vondrášek, one of the three current entrances with security barriers will keep one as a preventive measure. In total, people can enter the Prague Castle grounds through five entrances.
“On each entrance, one barrier will be kept for practical reasons. We want to keep the infrastructure at all entrances because we cannot exclude that the security situation will change, even though I do not wish it, and that would naturally change our measures,” said the police chief.