- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

LONDON

Police are poised to send thousands of riot officers into London’s streets next week to protect President Obama and leaders of 19 other nations, amid stark warnings that masses of protesters plan to attack the Group of 20 summit in the British capital.

Authorities cite intelligence information that an alliance of anarchists, anti-globalization groups and environmentalists intend to bring London to a standstill through stunts ranging from building giant sand pits in the streets to scaling skyscrapers in the city’s financial district.

The protesters have “some very clever people,” Scotland Yard Commander Bob Broadhurst told reporters. Authorities have canceled all police leave and intend to deploy up to 3,000 officers - many in riot gear - to meet the threat foreseen for the G-20 conference.

The security operation, estimated at a cost of about $14.5 million, will target protest groups that have advertised they mean to create mass chaos by “thrusting into the very heart of the beast,” a reference to the Bank of London, the symbol of Britain’s financial might.

The world’s top dignitaries, led by Mr. Obama, will meet April 2-3 in the Docklands area of East London, where a ring of police and steel will cordon off the ExCel center for an estimated 40 delegations to go to work trying to resolve the deepening global financial crises.

Authorities are taking the protesters’ threats seriously, considering the chaos they could cause if they succeed in measures such as using trucks to build huge sand pits in the streets, and climbing, invading - and possibly occupying - the Bank of England.

Police appear particularly concerned about the damage the tower climbers could cause.

To meet the threat, authorities say, specialist police climbers will be ready to tackle demonstrators planning to scale any buildings and police snipers will be stationed on roofs.

“Everything is up for grabs,” Mr. Broadhurst told reporters. “This is the aspiration, to get into and clog up these city [financial] institutions as best they can.”

Police think the protesters intend some of their heaviest and potentially most violent hits on April 1, the day before the summit officially starts.

A group calling itself G-20 Meltdown promised on its Web site that “now we’re going to put the heat” on capitalists at the summit, because “the G-20 ministers are trying to get away with the biggest April Fools’ trick of all time [with] their tax-dodging, bonus-guzzling, pension-pinching, unregulated free market world in meltdown.”

“We can’t pay, we won’t pay and we are taking to the streets,” said G-20 Meltdown. “At 12 noon, April 1st, we’re going to reclaim the city, thrusting into the very belly of the beast: the Bank of England.”

Chris Knight, of another key protest group calling itself the Government of the Dead, told the Guardian newspaper, “The revolution is coming.”

“This is our time, and I honestly believe that the army, the police, will be so intent on keeping the ExCel center, they will lose the city of London.”

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