Gift-wrapped roadblocks protect German Christmas markets after last year’s truck attack (VIDEO)

Gift-wrapped roadblocks protect German Christmas markets after last year’s truck attack (VIDEO)
Authorities in the German city of Bochum have gone to great lengths to beef up security for the Christmas market season. A string of 1.2-ton pellet bags, wrapped in bright paper, are in place as car barriers against potential terrorist attacks.

In an effort to make the bags look festive, local authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia decided to wrap the mundane barricades in festive paper and tie the packages with red ribbons. “Safety is very important at the Bochum Christmas market, but it was very important to fit in those ugly barriers into the beautiful overall atmosphere,” the head of Bochum Marketing, Mario Schiefelbein, said as cited by RTL.

Around 20 bags were gift-wrapped to protect visitors to the Bochum Christmas market, according to Die Welt.

One Bochum resident told RT’s Ruptly video agency that although the residents are not happy about the need to set up barricades in the city, they nonetheless support the measure. “We think it’s a pity that it must be done across the entire [Christmas market] area, but it is good that it is done.”

Another person said that the measure brought about “a feeling of safety, and if there are some [barriers] packed like presents, [when] there is no police presence, then that seems good to me.”

Bochum is not the only city to step up security measures ahead of the holiday season. Authorities in the Bavarian city of Augsburg will use decorated trucks, belonging to Christmas market stall owners, as car barriers, FAZ reported. Munich officials will be blocking the streets with planters containing season-appropriate evergreen plants.

Twelve people were killed and 50 others injured when a 24-year-old Tunisian man, Anis Amri, drove a truck into a crowd at the Berlin Christmas market before fleeing the scene last December. He was later killed by police in Italy.