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Australian police test emergency speakers in Melbourne following vehicle attacks

A new emergency loudspeaker warning system is being tested in downtown Melbourne on Thursday as part of the Australian city’s measures against terrorism and other public threats, according to the police.

The speakers that are located around the Victoria state capital’s library were to be activated in the late morning, with a warning signal for the public that it was a test, state police said on its Twitter account.

More than 60 speaker sets were installed in the city earlier this month, as part of measures to deal with emergencies such as terrorist attacks, hijacks and riots, reported the Nine News channel.

More than 90 sites will have the speakers by the end of 2018.

“This new tool is a quick way for us to alert the community of any imminent risks and ensure their safety,” Acting Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Shane Patton, was quoted as saying.

“We can also communicate via SMS and our social media pages, which would be regularly updated during an incident.”

State authorities are rolling out a security upgrade following a counter-terrorism review that includes street barriers to guard against vehicle attacks and new laws to detain terrorist suspects, amid a number of incidents this year.

On Dec. 21, a 32-year-old Australian man allegedly drove his SUV into a crowded downtown Melbourne intersection, leaving 20 people hospitalised.

Saeed Noori, who arrived in the country as an Afghan refugee in 2004, has been in custody and is facing 18 counts of attempted murder.

The incident follows a similar one in January, when a 27-year-old suspect drove his car into pedestrians on nearby Bourke Street at lunchtime, claiming six lives and injuring at least 30 others.

The driver pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges earlier in the month.

In November, authorities foiled a terror plot to shoot revelers during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Melbourne’s Federation Square tourist spot

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