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Fireworks bring drama to locked-down Davos

By Paul Armstrong (CNN)
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Small explosion at Davos hotel
  • Police: A firework exploded at the back entrance of the hotel
  • There are no reports of injuries at hotel close to WEF annual meeting
  • Security already tight, with thousands of troops, police deployed

Davos, Switzerland (CNN) -- It was high drama for a couple of hours on the second day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's stirring defense of the Euro was quickly forgotten as news of a "little explosion" at the back of a nearby hotel filtered through.

All of a sudden, security inside the WEF congress center was ramped up with identity badges under greater scrutiny -- no real surprise, given the number of VIPs in the building.

Fortunately the incident at the hotel -- rumored to be holding a dinner late Thursday hosted by former U.S. President Bill Clinton -- appears to have passed without reports of casualties. Police said a firework had been thrown at the building.

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However, this picturesque ski resort is now swarming with security forces, with machine-gun-toting commandos dressed in black ski-masks peering down menacingly from rooftops overlooking the congress center site as police helicopters hover overhead.

Security was already considerable with around 4,000 Swiss troops deployed in the town.

Visitors are met with airport-style x-ray machines at all entrances, followed by electronic scanners which read your identity badge and pull up your profile on a screen. Even much-needed lunchtime supplies have to pass through the x-ray.

Once inside the building, suited WEF officials diligently check ID badges to ensure delegates -- or digital producers for that matter -- don't walk into the wrong areas.

While taking photographs of this extraordinary sealed world I happened to snap one of the entrances. Moments later I was chased by a security man and ordered to delete the offending image from my camera -- he even stood over me while I did as I was told at my laptop like a chastened schoolboy.

But as the terrible events at a Moscow airport this week have shown, tough security measures are understandable and now appear to be the norm, especially at Davos where Fortune 500 CEOs mingle over coffee with heads of state.

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