Thursday, September 6, 2007


A few days ago, in my article entitled Fences and walls, I evoked the use of barriers as protection, as in Sydney this week. In the modern world, there's a new kind of fortress: sporting stadiums. At the outset, it was a matter of defining an enclosed space for sporting events, making it possible to "protect" matches from those who would wish to watch them for free.

Modern stadiums, particularly for soccer matches, are faced with the additional responsibility of protecting players from certain spectators, and separating adverse spectator groups. Here's an aerial photo of the new stadium at Montpellier, to be used for Rugby World Cup matches:

During these events, France will be employing some 27,000 police officers and gendarmes. They'll be aided by 1,500 members of the armed forces, 5,000 firemen and 4,000 first-aid specialists. That sounds like a pretty solid protective barrier... even by John Howard's standards.

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