Increased security at Prague Castle was promised in the wake of a scandal back in September 2015, when a group of activists managed to hang a giant pair of red boxer shorts from the Castle roof in protest at Miloš Zeman’s supposed affinity for authoritarian regimes.
However, the Castle claimed that tightened security was in reality a response to the concerns over potential terrorist attacks demanding increased vigilance.
Yesterday, Vít Rakušan, the interior minister, said he would ask police and security services to review measures in place at the 70,000 sq meter complex, which is the country’s most visited tourist attraction.
“Prague Castle is a symbol of Czech statehood,” he tweeted. “It belongs to all of us. And we are not really all terrorists, as we may now feel when we visit it. I have asked the relevant institutions to review all the security measures that have created a war fortification around the castle.”
Rakušan told Czech journalists the police would seek the opinions of all relevant bodies. “They will assess and comment on the necessity of the existing measures and possibly work on a new security regime,” he added. “I believe an assessment of the current massive measures is in order.”
Critics insisted the castle’s status as public property rendered such measures inappropriate while doubting the credibility of an Islamist threat in a country with a small Muslim population.
In 2016, the security at the Prague Castle was intensified with the introduction of walk-through metal detectors, while police officers began checking visitors’ bags.
The controls were aimed at preventing weapons from being brought into the castle and were sparked by fears of terrorism, officials said.
Especially in the first few days, long lines snaked around the square in front of the castle, Hradčanské náměstí.