Sydney security braces for Apec

Australia launches biggest ever security operation for Asia-Pacific summit.

    Sydney has launched an unprecedented security operation for the Apec summit [GALLO/GETTY]

    But his visit to Australia is expected to draw protests from anti-war groups and authorities are deploying up to 5,000 police and special forces troops on the streets of Sydney during the summit.

     

    A concrete and steel fence 5km long and nearly three metres high has cornered off much of the city's central business district.

     

    The unprecedented security operation is costing about $150m.

     

    Hundreds of protesters are expected to take to the streets during the summit and police say they are braced for violence.

     

    Police have refused a permit for an
    anti-war protest on Saturday [EPA]

    Dozens of detention cells have been cleared in anticipation of clashes.

     

    Ahead of Bush's arrival about 100 anti-war protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside Sydney's main rail station, chanting "Bush go home", "Out of Iraq" and "Go Back to Texas now".

     

    "We cannot sit on the sidelines while a warmonger like George Bush comes to our country," protest organiser Alex Bainbridge told the "Stop Bush 2007" rally.

     

    The biggest march is planned for Saturday, the first day of the Apec leaders' summit.

     

    Protest organisers say they expect around 10,000 protesters to turn up even though authorities have refused to grant a permit for the demonstration.

     

    With the Russian and Chinese presidents also attending the Apec summit, protesters also plan to demonstrate against human rights abuses in China, nuclear proliferation and global warming.

     

    On Monday John Howard, the Australian prime minister, took the unusual step of posting a message on YouTube appealing to protesters not to resort to violence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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