GENEVA – Geneva looks deserted because of the increased security measures that came into force in the early morning: on the day of the summit of Russia and the United States, according to the decision of the local authorities, the access of transport and pedestrians to the embankments of Lake Geneva, the Mont Blanc Bridge, as well as to the La Grange Park, where the summit will be held at the villa of the same name.
At a considerable distance before the exits to the embankments, which are important transport arteries of the city, divided into two parts by the lake and the Rhone River, there are signs “Traffic is prohibited.” Police posts are set up on closed sections of the streets, as a Free News correspondent who made a road trip through the morning city was convinced. The Mont Blanc Bridge, decorated on the occasion of the summit with the flags of Russia and the United States, is now impossible to pass or pass.
There are few cars on the streets, including public transport. It is so quiet in Geneva on Sundays and long holidays when shops, institutions, and businesses are closed. Some bus routes have now been changed: this affected, in particular, route 5, which runs next to the hotel “Intercontinental”. This hotel and its surroundings are included in the security zone by the authorities, since US President Joe Biden, who arrived in Geneva the day before, stayed there. A policeman at a post posted near the Place des Nations, a few hundred meters from the Intercontinental, told a Free News correspondent that the passage was closed and advised them to “turn back.”
There are few passers-by on the streets. Even the station square looks depopulated: the population heeded the advice of the authorities and refrains from moving around the city, and local companies and enterprises have transferred staff to remote work. Access to the security zone is allowed either by special passes or based on a document confirming residence in a particular block.
The authorities have taken extensive measures to ensure that the summit is held in a secure environment. La Grange Park and the adjacent Eau Vive Park are surrounded by metal mesh barriers with barbed wire. It is forbidden to park cars nearby. Since June 14, it is impossible to launch drones, and since June 15, restrictions have been imposed on the use of airspace over Geneva and the territories of neighboring France. Navigation on the lake is closed.
Throughout the day on June 16, a ban on mass demonstrations is in effect on the right side of Lake Geneva, where the parks La Grange and Haut-Vive are located, as well as in the suburb of Grand Saconnay, through which the road from the international airport to Geneva passes. The Geneva Council of State called on citizens to behave responsibly and understand the situation so that the summit could be held “in excellent conditions, in accordance with the Geneva tradition of respect, hospitality, and dialogue.”
Police and military
To help almost 2 thousand Geneva police officers, the federal authorities have allocated 900 of their colleagues from other regions of Switzerland, as well as 1 thousand military personnel who guard diplomatic missions and monitor the sky. Military posts are displayed, in particular, at the permanent missions of Russia and the United States.