Thu, June 24, 2010
World > Americas > Hu visits Canada, attends G20 Summit

High fences define G20 security zone

2010-06-24 04:02:28 GMT2010-06-24 12:02:28 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

A Toronto police motorcade rehearses on Tuesday prior to the upcoming G20 summit, as security has been beefed up in Canada. [China Daily]

Toronto - The numbers tell it clearly: nearly four kilometers of two-meter high fencing surrounds the security zone where Group of 20 leaders will meet for two days this weekend in Toronto.

Police patrol nearly every intersection within the fenced zone, which includes the Metro Toronto Convention Center and the major hotels where world leaders will be staying for the conference, which runs Saturday and Sunday.

As two journalists discovered at the entrance to the Intercontinental Hotel, travelers without previous reservations and special security clearance can no longer enter leading hotels inside the fenced area.

The number of police has multiplied on Toronto streets, as all members of forces across Canada who are able to travel have come to Toronto to assist security during the summit, said Rodney Petroski, a constable from the provincial police and a media liaison.

The exact number of officers on the ground remains classified.

Police motorcades cruised streets in the security zone Tuesday evening as part of exercises, Petroski said.

Some hotels outside the security zone, such as the Econolodge Inn, will issue an identification band for every guest. "It's just for the sake of security during the G20 summit," Jacob Muyoboke, a hotel employee, told China Daily.

Earlier Tuesday morning, at least four shots were fired from a black BMW at the corner of King Street and John Street - three blocks away from the convention center - local media reported.

Police said officers were able to get a partial license plate number and recovered shell casings in the street, the Toronto police website reported. No one was injured.

According to the Globe and Mail, authorities do not believe the G20 and the shooting are linked.

"It's not an uncommon occurrence in Toronto any more to get reports of shots fired on any given day or night," the Globe and Mail quoted Sergeant Burrows as saying. "We often respond into the entertainment district This is realistically no different. There's nothing that indicates this is G20-related."

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that gay rights protesters marched through the downtown shopping district in carnival gear on Tuesday to demand global leaders address minority issues.

Dressed in everything from jeans to grass skirts and pink tights, more than 100 protesters danced through streets a few blocks from the G20 venue.

"We're queer, we're fabulous, we're against the G20," Reuters quoted the marchers chanting as two dozen police on mountain bikes watched, breaking their strict formation at least once to tackle a rowdy protester to the ground.

Protesters said they were trying to draw attention to the rights of all people marginalized because of their gender, sexuality or socioeconomic status.

Protest groups have pledged to keep demonstrations peaceful, although activists say talk is growing of extremist groups who plan to use the marches to provoke clashes with police.

Canada is spending about C$1 billion ($980 million) on security for two back-to-back international summits this week, according to Reuters.

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