Pope’s safety a top priority


Streets around the Vatican embassy will be closed by publilc security NOTIMEX PHOTO/FRANCISCO GARCÍA

GUILLERMO ESPINOSA/THE NEWS

Mexico City Public Security Secretary Hiram Almeida Estrada said that, from his arrival in Mexico City on Feb. 12 on, the safety of Pope Francis will be the charge of the Presidential Guard, in coordination with the Swiss Guard who traditionally protect the pope during his visits.

“Regarding the security measures, we are in talks with the Presidential Guard and the security officials from the Vatican. We have made some tours around the routes and events which the pope will visit,” said Almeida Estrada.

During his stay, the activities of the pope in Mexico City will be safeguarded by the city police, which will launch an operation involving 20,000 officers to surveil and protect the estimated 225 kilometers that the tour will span.

The arrival of Pope Francis to the Mexico City International Airport will be on the evening of Friday, Feb. 12. The next day, the religious leader will have an official reception at the National Palace and will meet with church authorities in the metropolitan cathedral and later will hold mass in the Basílica de Guadalupe.

On Sunday, Feb. 14, the pope will officiate a mass in the municipality of Ecatepec, for which 10,000 officers of the State Public Safety Committee will be deployed, in addition to officers of the National Gendarmerie and the Ecatepec municipal police.

“The 10,000 officers are ready. The gendarmerie will also be participating in ensuring the safety of the people of Ecatepec and those who visit our country these days,” said State of Mexico Secretary of Governance Sergio Manzur Quiroga.

On Monday, Feb. 15, the pope will visit Chiapas, where he will meet families in the Víctor Manuel Reyna stadium, which is expected to reach more than 450,000 visitors. The security will be the charge of the Presidential Guard as well as state and municipal police.

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, Pope Francis will visit Michoacán. There, he will attend a meeting with priests and religious leaders. Later, he will meet with young people in the Morelos stadium. Security measures will be focused on shielding the borders with the State of Mexico, Guerrero and Guanajuato. Michoacán Gov. Silvano Aureoles Conejo said that security will be reinforced, mainly at the state border shared with Guerrero.

On Feb. 17, the religious leader will visit the state of Chihuahua. In Ciudad Juárez, security will be the charge of the Presidential Guard, in addition to 1,100 state police officers, 400 road police officers and 2,400 municipal police officers.