Festivals assure of safety after US Embassy warns citizens

Roula Assi, Executive Manager of the Tyre international festival, said that the safety standards in Tyre are “extremely high."
by Khaled Rajah

17 July 2017 | 16:33

Source: by Annahar

  • by Khaled Rajah
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 17 July 2017 | 16:33

Lebanese singer Rami Ayach performs at the opening of Baalbek International Festival in Baalbek (Reuters/File)

BEIRUT: A number of summer festival organizers gave assurances of the safety of their respective venues, including listing security protocols and noting their ongoing safety record after a warning by the US Embassy to American citizens to avoid large gatherings.

The US Embassy released a statement on Friday cautioning its citizens against attending international festivals around the country for fear of terrorist attacks.

“During the height of the busy summer festival season in Lebanon, the U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to exercise caution in the vicinity of large public gatherings,” read the online statement.

“Any high-profile event can be an appealing target for Lebanon-based ISIS-affiliated terrorists or other extremist groups.”

Responding to the statement, Roula Assi, Executive Manager of the Tyre international festival, said that the safety standards in Tyre are “extremely high”, and proceeded to describe the scrupulous precautions taken by security personnel during every event.

Four hours prior to any event, the venue is strictly cleared of all but security personnel, who probe the premises with sniffer dogs and explosive-detectors. Before entering the venue, attendees have to pass through two full-body scanners before having their clothes thoroughly inspected.

“The Tyre festival is the pinnacle of safety,” said Assi.

Safety concerns surrounding the Baalbek festival have generally been the most elevated, but event president Nayla De Freige dismissed the report as being “exaggerated” and “paranoid.”

“We’ve been running our strict security measures for over 10 years,” De Freige told Annahar, “and nothing has ever happened.”

“We’re taking all the necessary measures to ensure utmost safety, security officers follow us from Beirut to Baalbek, and everyone is searched without exception. These reports only scare people, let them sing and dance and enjoy themselves.”

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