The Scottish city of Edinburgh has installed scores of high-security anti-terrorism barriers to prevent terrorists from mowing down pedestrians with vehicles—and they’re dressing them up to look colorful and cheery.
Described as only a “temporary measure,” the bumpers, gates, and heavy barriers were installed ahead of the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.
However, there are mutterings that the installations will be a permanent fixture in the city. In response, the city’s artists painted them to look pretty.
— EdinLivetouch (@EdinLivetouch) August 8, 2017
Scottish police say that there are no indications that the festival, which lasts for slightly over three weeks, is being actively targeted by terrorist groups, but precautions are needed. The daily threat level in the UK remains at “SEVERE,” per MI5.
The barriers are located at the top of the Royal Mile in the Old Town, which runs from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle—an extremely high-traffic area, as can be seen in photos from previous years of the event.
“The ultimate in complacent, shrug-your-shoulders turd-polishing. We should be angry this thing needed to be installed in the first place,” wrote Jack Montgomery, an Edinburgh resident and journalist.
The festival features build stands by Edinburgh Castle, where masses gather to watch the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo—an annual series of military tattoos performed by the British Armed Forces, commonwealth armies, and other military bands.
“The top of the Mile gets absolutely choked with people queuing to get up to it this time of year, so it’s a prime target for a ramming attack,” said Montgomery to The Daily Caller. “So, for the first time, they’ve now introduced these huge barriers, with a big swinging metal bar. They sold it as temporary but now muttering it might be permanent.”
“So naturally we’ve colored it in to cheer ourselves up, like it’s a feature,” he said. “Frankly I hope they do leave them up, because the area is extremely vulnerable and these are the times we live in — but I don’t see why we should be painting them pretty colours and acting pleased about it when it’s clearly a massive retrograde step for the city.”
Initial plans to install the barricades were first reported late July in the Edinburgh Evening News. The publication stated that the City of Edinburgh Council and Police Scotland requested installation of the barriers, which is being paid for by the UK government.
The installations come in the wake of multiple vehicle-related terrorist attacks in UK and Europe. In June, a van mowed down multiple pedestrians in an attack on London Bridge.