Irish Republican News · May 24, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
G8 security operation ‘designed to intimidate’


Work is underway to erect a massive security fence to keep political activists far away from a summit of the world’s most powerful leaders in County Fermanagh.

The metal barrier stretches for miles around the luxury Lough Erne golf resort is designed to block off the surrounding area and prevent thousands of protesters from gaining access to the isolated hotel.

Eight of the world’s most powerful leaders including US President Barack Obama, Russian premier Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will jet into Northern Ireland for the two-day conference on June 17 and 18.

Details about the height, width and scale of the fence are said to be classified British secrets.

The total cost of securing the area is put at over £50 million ($75 million) and will involve the closure of several roads.

In addition to the summit itself, US President Barack Obama is to visit Belfast for what is being described as “the presidential side-trip”. There will also be a cosmetic side to the exercise, with about £300,000 being spent on painting over delapidated buildings and otherwise masking the poverty in parts of Belfast.

An additional 3,600 police are being called in from across Britain to reinforce the 7,000 members of the PSNI in the North in advance of expected confrontations. They new recruits have had to be quickly trained getting in and out of the PSNI’s heavily armoured vehicles and learn to work with plastic bullets and water cannon, according to reports.

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has hired two private security firms including the controversial G4S firm to man a secure area which will extend across the border.

Three unmanned drones and scores of security cameras are also being deployed to relay live pictures to police and MI5 headquarters in Belfast.

British intelligence services have estimated that many thousands of political protesters could be active. Hundreds of jail cells are said to have been prepared in prisons and in former British army barracks.

And fearing an invasion of anarchists causing “chaos” in Belfast, police are planning to occupy hundreds of vacant premises in the centre of the city.

Parts of Antrim will also have a heavy police presence during the conference, particularly in and around Belfast International Airport. British army helicopters are on standby to fly world leaders and their entourages to and from the airport and the summit location.

Few details have been released of the security plans on the southern side, but the embattled 26 County justice minister Alan Shatter has said that mobile phone providers will be asked to cut off signals on their networks to disrupt those opposed to the meeting. Checkpoints where vehicles are scanned are also expected be set up on both sides of the border, and there will be major disruption to people living in the locality, with schools, hospitals and other facilities trapped behind a ‘ring of steel’.


PSNI Assistant chief Alistair Finlay said he was determined the summit would not be affected by the ongoing conflict in the North. He said attacks by ‘dissident’ republicans were part of the “normal backdrop” of life but that he expects any such incidents to take place away from the conference venue and other key areas.

“I’ve got no reason to say that dissidents won’t do something during that period of time. This is the normal backdrop. This has been the backdrop, the sad reality of Northern Ireland over quite a period of time. There is nothing to suggest that the rhythm of that will be disrupted,” he said.

But British claims that the two-day summit would bring up to £700 million into the north’s economy were laughed off.

“This is a figure that has been plucked from thin air,” said local Sinn Fein representative Phil Flanagan

“Already we have been told that schools are closing with exams disrupted, hospital appointments cancelled, waterways are closing, driving lessons and tests cancelled, mobile phone coverage impacted and all road works have been cancelled.”

Mr Flanagan said the tangible economic benefits of the G8 would be “minor”.

Meanwhile, left-wing activists met in Belfast during the week to discuss concerns over the scale of the policing operation. Political commentator Eamonn McCann addressed the public meeting, with the Green Party’s Clare Bailey, trade unionist Ryan McKinney also attending.

It was announced that a ‘counter summit’ is currently being organised by the ‘G8 Alternatives’ group on Sunday 16 June in Belfast followed by a major protest supported by a broad range of socialist and republican groups in Enniskillen on Monday 17 June. Other events are taking place locally.

People Before Profit’s Gerry Carroll said the security operation announced for the summit was an attempt to intimidate protesters. The Workers Solidarity Movement also condemned government warnings of an anarchist invasion as “scaremongering” and an attempt to scare off protests.

“Invoking the phantasm of invasions of ‘thousands of international protesters’ and bogeymen ‘anarchists bent on destruction’ is really aimed at creating a bogus climate of fear to try and intimidate ordinary members of the public out of exercising their legitimate right to demonstrate their objections to this reckless waste of resources,” the tiny Irish anarchist organisation said.

It called for the money spent on the summit to be spent on preventing cuts to services and “attacks on the already penniless” such as the [British] Bedroom tax.

“We find it a dereliction of civic duty and a shameful violation of journalistic ethics, that such crude propaganda from the security forces is printed more or less verbatim by journalists and newspapers, without any attempt to verify their veracity or solicit alternative views.

“The real forces ‘bent on damage and destruction’ at this grotesque spectacle, will be the G8 representatives within their temporary battlements, planning the further ruination of peoples lives through ever more savage austerity, and the destruction of our environment through the unsustainable despoliation of the planet in the service of profit for the few.”

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© 2013 Irish Republican News