We Need to Pay Attention!
London police fear violent protests at G-20 economic meeting
LONDON: The British police are preparing to deal with violent protests as anarchists threaten to bring chaos to the Group of 20 summit meeting in London.
All leave for police officers in the capital has been called off and businesses are being advised to cancel unnecessary meetings because protesters have vowed to target the financial district as the world leaders gather to discuss the financial crisis.
Previous world economic summit meetings and conferences have been targeted by anarchists, anti-globalization protesters and other groups. The police say they fear that the gathering April 2 in London, set against anger at the economic downturn, could provoke more violence.
Environmentalists, antiwar campaigners and protesters have already indicated that they would demonstrate April 1 as politicians and officials begin arriving in London.
A movement called "Storm the Banks" is circulating on the Internet indicating that anti-capitalist protesters are planning to focus their attention on the Bank of England during what some protesters have dubbed "Financial Fools Day."
During a Group of Eight meeting in Scotland in July 2005, four British Islamists carried out suicide bombings on trains and a bus in London that killed 52 people.
"At the moment, we are not aware of any specific threat to this event," a police spokeswoman said. "What we will be doing is an intelligence-led deployment, so there will be officers where we are anticipating demonstrations."
Businesses leaders are trying to make sure their companies are aware of what to expect during demonstrations.
"There will be concern from business over the two days of protest, but the vast majority of firms will have robust security arrangements in place," said Helen Hill, policy director at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "Canceling unnecessary meetings may have to be considered, but people shouldn't feel as though they can't travel in London to conduct important business."