By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 28 April 2013:
Despite a recent security threat, coming just days after Tuesday’s car-bomb attack on the French embassy, . . .[restrict]most organisations in Tripoli are continuing their activities as normal.
“There have been a few cancellations for hotel rooms and events,” director for food and drink at the Mahari Radisson Blu hotel, Johan Klang, told the Libya Herald today, “but we still have a number of big events, including one this evening.” The cancellations, he said, came from both Libyan and international guests.
Heightened security measures remain in place around the Mahari Radisson Blu, following a security threat on Friday, which seems to have been targeting a film festival called the Libya Movie Awards being held in the hotel’s Mahari theatre.
The origin of the threat remains unclear but a warning was disseminated to diplomatic staff attending the festival, all of whom immediately left the theatre. After the first film ended, the whole audience was asked to leave although, to avoid causing panic, the security threat was not mentioned. The festival was subsequently cancelled.
“The hotel has not received any threats and we are just as much in the dark about this as many others,” Klang said, “but as soon as the information reached us, of course we took all the necessary precautions.”
Cars outside the hotel were removed, and streets to the side and back of the hotel closed and guarded by security personnel. Libyan security staff and investigators made a thorough search of public areas of the hotel.
“We have not even seen the threat, we have just been told that there was a threat to the theatre and reacted accordingly,” Klang said. He added that he was 100 percent sure that no-one in the hotel had received a threat or warning.
The hotel, Klang said, would assess the situation on a day-by-day basis but, as long as there were no further developments, he said that over the next few days the Radisson would start lifting the parking restrictions.
Seven companies, including European, Turkish and Pakistani firms, which had booked stands at the forthcoming Agro-Libya food and fishing exhibition exhibit have pulled out following the bombing of the French embassy. However, project manager for the exhibition, Rola Ajjawi, told the Libya Herald that there would still be over 100 international and Libyan companies and organisations at the fair.
Rumours that Tripoli’s other main five-star hotel, the Corinthia, had received threats at the same time as those made to the film festival were denied by a source there. [/restrict]