Cities around the World React to Brussels Attack
During the tail end of the morning commute traffic in Brussels, Belgium, two explosions ripped through the Brussels Airport while one more detonated in a subway station in the Brussel’s district of Maalbeek, where just four days earlier the last surviving team member involved in the Paris attacks was arrested. At least 34 people died and 166 more were wounded in the senseless attacks on the innocent people of Brussels.
While the attack, as security experts have explained, was not necessarily a surprise, they still resonated deeply with those around the world, a fact that is proved by the security measures put in place within hours of the tragic event.
Inside the border lines of Belgium, authorities bolstered security by shutting down all Brussel’s metro stations and evacuating the city airport. In addition to the airport, Belgium’s Royal Palace and National Pensions Office were evacuated. All mass transportation within the city was cancelled.
A nuclear plant in eastern Belgium was closed down and all but essential staff members were sent home, under strict orders from Belgium authorities after learning that one of the suspects had obtained video of the home of one of the nuclear physicists.
Schools were placed on lock down, students were ordered to stay in place unless they were accompanied by a parent who was there to take them home. Shopping centers were also evacuated and the shoppers were asked to go home.
The country raised the terror threat level to four – the highest level. The step-up means that army soldiers can be sent onto the streets to meet security needs. The city as a whole was placed on locked down, as of Tuesday mid-morning until further information was gathered.
France deployed 1,600 extra police officers to its borders and on public transportation. Security in Paris will also be ramped up, with 400 additional police officers on military patrols on public transportation.
Around Europe, British authorities ordered an increased police presence at ports, airports, Tube stations and international train stations, said Prime Minister David Cameron. Eurostar, a high-speed railway that goes to England and France, noted a number of schedule and other changes, including canceling service between London and Brussels.
In Germany, the country's federal police heightened security at its airports, railway stations and borders with Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Luxemborg. Germany's national rail operator has temporarily suspended trains to Brussels and Berlin's airports canceled flights to the Belgian city for the day.
In the United States, major cities like New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles took special precautions like increased K9 sweeps of subways and additional police patrols. This was especially true around soft targets such as airports, subway stops and train stations, with scenes like those in the U.S. capital, where police pulled out and checked travelers at random, an occurrence not uncommon in these kinds of situations.
Authorities believed that if they could show an increased police presence across the United States, it would thwart off copy-cats. There are no current specific or credible threats to the States, but cities are still staying alert.
New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio held a press conference early Tuesday morning to update the city on increased police presence at major key targets like subway stations and airports in the area.
“We stand in New York City ready to fight terror,” deBlasio said. “There is no specific or credible threat right now, but we are on high alert. While we take this threat seriously, but we will not live in fear.”
Online, Facebook enabled their Safety Check feature for those in the areas of the explosions, that are about an hour apart from each other. The feature allows you to tell you friends and family that you are OK and also mark others that you know as OK so that their friends and family may have relief as well.
In Cuba, President Barack Obama was set to give a speech on the coming together of the United States and Cuba. At the beginning of his speech he gave about a minute of his time to talk about the events in Brussels.
“We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible,” Obama said in his brief remarks. “This is yet another reminder that the world must unite. We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.”
Obama and his family went on to resume their scheduled events, even attending a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Cuban national team.
All around the world, the media was told not to report in specific detail the movements of the military and security teams in the Brussels area. The security teams wished to move with anonymity through their raids in order to find the culprits as soon as possible to prevent any further attacks.
Posted by Sydny Shepard on Mar 22, 2016