Italy Ponders Protests' Effects on Winter Olympics Security

Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Thursday, on the eve of the Turin Olympics, that he was considering warning globalization opponents that the government will take "decisive" measures against protests during the games.

Italian authorities conducted a final review of security measures for the Winter Olympics on Thursday, concentrating on possible repercussions from Islamic protests as well as anarchists and globalization opponents who have been active in Italy.

Berlusconi said on a private Italian TV La7 that he was awaiting the Interior Ministry's report on the security review.

"I could decide to intervene with a statement aimed at warning that the government will intervene with measures aimed at striking back at subversive acts in a decisive way," Berlusconi was quoted by Italian news agencies as saying on the program. He offered no details.

Berlusconi also said he was considering a "resounding appeal" to fellow Italians to stop their protests against the Games, the ANSA news said.

At Thursday's security review, Interior Ministry officials and other security experts approved the security arrangements, including more than 15,000 police officers to be on guard and constant support from national intelligence, the ministry said in a statement.

The meeting focused on two issues: "possible internal repercussions from the Islamic protest that is disturbing the international scene; the threats linked to the growing aggressiveness of Italian antagonist movements and subversive groups."

The publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad has sparked deadly rioting across the Muslim world. Demonstrators saw the drawings as deeply insulting to Islam and have attacked embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran and rioted in Afghanistan.

Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu, the top political official for civilian police and the intelligence corps, has warned repeatedly that the chief threat comes from anarchists and anti-globalization protesters seeking an international spotlight.

In December, demonstrations against a high-speed train linking Turin to Lyon, France, turned violent in an Alpine valley, which is hosting some Olympic events.

This week, new protests against the rail link forced a detour in the Olympic torch route.

NATO is providing two surveillance planes to patrol over northern Italy during the games, which open Friday in Turin and run through Feb. 26.