In the face of mounting concerns about potential terrorist attacks, the head of the Russian organizing committee called the 2014 Sochi Olympics the “most secure venue at the moment on the planet.”
Dmitry Chernyshenko spoke with reporters about the state of the Games less than two weeks before the opening ceremony at Fisht Stadium.
“I can assure you that Sochi will be among the most security-friendly games and all the procedures will be very gentle and smooth,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
Tens of thousands of army troops and police have flooded into the Black Sea resort. Still, there have been concerns about security in the wake of recent suicide bombings in Volgograd, which is about 400 miles from Sochi.
Chernyshenko also spoke about Russia’s controversial anti-gay propaganda law, which criminalizes discussing or promoting gay rights in the presence of minors. He echoed an assurance that Russia will not discriminate against visitors on the basis of sexual orientation but expressed concerns about athletes voicing their opinions on the issue.
“I don’t think they are allowed by [the Olympic] charter to express those views that [are] not related to the sport at the press conference room,” he said.
The Russian government will establish a sanctioned “protest zone” in a nearby town but demonstrators must receive prior approval.
For more on this story visit: David Wharton, LA Times