Related: CP Reporter: How I was detained by G8 security | G8/G20 Police Fusion Centres Unmasked in Barrie, North Toronto | Soldiers and secret police: Some in Huntsville ‘getting nervous’ over G8 | Fake Lakes not Required, But $50 Million of G8 ‘Legacy’ Spending Pours into Clement’s Riding | Security unit shows off G8 plans for Huntsville | G20 media centre with fake lake to cost $1.9M | Clement blasted for G8 riding spending, Baird drags out 9/11 trope | Budget watchdog probing G8/G20 summits’ $1-billion price tag | Toronto Police to take up to $100-million of G20 security funds | Toronto and Muskoka G8/20 Summit security costs hit $1.1B | For more, see the G20 Coverage page feature
Linda Nguyen, Canwest News
June 25, 2010
HUNTSVILLE, Ont. – The mood in downtown Huntsville Friday was lively and even festive – a sharp contrast to the heavy security presence a few kilometres away at the Deerhurst Resort on the first day of the G8 Summit.
“It’s like a festival out here,” said OPP Sgt. Pierre Chamberland, donning sunglasses under sunny skies by the water. “People are here. They’re engaged. They want to see what is going on.”
Just a few kilometres away from the G8 epicentre, the secluded field designated as the protest zone remained virtually empty for the most part on Friday.
A handful of protesters was spotted around town mingling with locals down by Riverside Park, on the first day Prime Minister Stephen Harper hosted leaders from the world’s most powerful countries.
But the modest groupings of demonstrators were nowhere near as plentiful as security officials had expected at the idyllic town.
The heads of the G8 countries – including U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy – will discuss a number of topics during the 1 1/2-day summit at the posh resort, including global economic policy and health care.
The leaders will then head to Toronto Saturday for the G20 Summit which runs through Sunday.
Despite the low demonstrator turnout, agendas were on display, nonetheless.
Huntsville resident Terry Exell marched with four others in the park, carrying signs that read “Water is a Human Right.” His group wants world leaders to support a global water policy. “We want our water to be protected,” the 59-year-old said. “It’s not for sale.”
Sitting under the sunshine by the Muskoka River, Exell said the world should stop treating water as an unlimited resource that can be commoditized.
A few steps away on the dock, a group of protesters from World Vision was dressed up as the G8 leaders in tuxedos. Each protester, wearing a mask of one of the leaders, was also big-bellied and walked on three-metre stilts and grabbed green paper dollar signs from citizens.
Caroline Riseboro, a spokeswoman with the organization, said the group was mocking how the leaders were pregnant with empty promises.
“We’re hoping they will deliver on their promises, to come through and save the lives of 8.8 million children who die each year only because they don’t have access to things like health care and nutritious food,” she said.
“Without the money from the leaders of the world’s richest nations, we will not be able to save the lives of these children,” said Riseboro.
The Harper government answered that Friday, announcing a commitment of nearly $3-billion over five years for international maternal and child health initiative.
A number of local residents and tourists with cameras hanging around their necks gathered in the park to greet the friendly protesters. Some brought their dogs and children and sat by the water, watching what some say is the most excitement this town has seen.
Throughout Huntsville, police officers could be seen keeping guard at almost every corner. There are also Canadian Forces personnel in the backwoods surrounding Deerhurst during the leaders’ stay. Ontario Provincial Police officers are also stationed every 200 metres along the eight-kilometre wire fence that was built to surround the resort. There are more than 20,000 security personnel working the two summits.
The Integrated Security Unit, which includes a number of police forces including OPP, RCMP and Canadian Forces, said it has had only one minor security incident in Huntsville when a lone protester was briefly detained early Thursday outside the roadblock on Highway 60 near the Deerhurst Resort.
The middle-aged man was trying to walk through the barricades when he was stopped around 8 a.m. with a rolled-up banner. The man did not speak English or French and did not understand the officers. He was questioned and then released without any charges.
On a stretch of Highway 60, right in front of the second road barricade leading into Deerhurst, Buddhist monk Sekiguchi Toyoshige pounded his drum as part of a 12-hour prayer for world peace.
The Japanese monk has been to two of the most recent summits in Japan and Italy, and arrived in Huntsville on Tuesday from Toronto after walking 250 kilometres.
“He marched here because he wants harmony between different world religions,” said Toronto resident Adrian Bhatti, who sat and chanted with the monk on the side of the highway. “He’s also calling for nuclear disarmament.”
Mr. Bhatti said both police and residents have greeted the monk warmly.
Jessica DeGraw drove down from Thunder Bay, Ont., to champion for abortions to be part of Canada’s maternal health initiative.
“I demand for reproductive justice for all women,” said the 25-year-old university student. “Abortions need to be talked about regardless of morality and illegality.”
The protest area is being telecast live into the Deerhurst Resort, but DeGraw doubts any leaders will see her, one of the only five protesters on-site.
“I’m hopeful they hear my message but I bet they’ll just look and turn the other way,” she said.
Source | See also under Protest: Canada flunks on indigenous rights: G20 native protesters | Greek anti-austerity strikes hit tourists | Marcus Gee: Why the G20 protesters won’t condemn violence | Hospitals, medics prepare for G20 injuries and tear gas | Peaceful protests continue in Toronto as G20 nears | Iran to send ship through Gaza blockade | Experts Draft Document Critical Of ACTA: Signatures Wanted | Anti-poverty activists occupy ESSO station during Monday G20 protest — for ten minutes | Toronto activists launch G20 alternative media centre | Police add water cannon to G20 arsenal | Ban G20 summit agents provocateurs: activist groups to PM | Oxfam astroturf march leads early G20 protest for bank tax | Russian police seize 100,000 anti-Vladimir Putin books | Activists plan walkout and tent city to protest G8/G20 summits | G20 centre for protesters set to open | Police use teargas on disgruntled World Cup workers | London G20: Jury acquits protester accused of being ringleader in clashes | G20 activists accuse CSIS of intimidation | G20 protesters say they won’t be intimidated by police | Egypt says Gaza blockade has failed, border crossing opened in wake of aid flotilla assault to stay | Canadian protesters condemn Israeli raids on aid flotillas | Autopsy: Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range | Bilderberg 2010: Why the protesters are your very best friends | Underground economy emerges in Ontario in response to HST | Gaza flotilla activists unarmed: Canadian | Toronto police show off G20 summit security | Prospective G20 prison camp medics told patients may be faking | Protests in Middle East, Europe, follow deadly Israeli attack on flotilla as UN convenes emergency session | Russian police crush anti-government protests | Israeli troops attack ship carrying aid to Gaza killing 16 | B.C. anti-HST petition hits target weeks ahead of schedule | Toronto police buy four ’sound cannons’ for G20 | The Toronto G20 Police State Crackdown | Couchiching First Nation’s highway ‘toll booth’ peaceful: OPP | Toronto banks review G20 security after Ottawa RBC fire | RBC firebombed as protest, group claims | Anarchists plan ‘militant’ protests at Toronto G20 | Anti-HST petition nears goal in B.C. | HST rage puts B.C. Liberals in a spot | Bid To ‘Storm’ Irish Parliament During Bailout Protest Foiled | Toronto labour, native protesters ready for G20 demonstrations | Toronto G20 protest area moved to Queens Park | Greece erupts as men from IMF prepare to wield axe | All Toronto G20 protests will be directed to Trinity Bellwoods Park | Halifax G8 protester charged with assault | Protesters and police get ready to square off at G20 summit | Masks off at G8 protest: rally leader | Grassroots summit calls for international climate court | First Nations protest against HST | Greek civil servants strike, challenge EU/IMF talks | BC Govt, Anti-HST Campaigners Dispute Legality of Pro-HST Leaflet | Up to 50,000 protest Charest’s tax hikes | HST fight makes allies of B.C. political foes | Toronto braces for G20 logistics crunch | ‘Anarchists’ Plan to Disrupt April 15 US Tea Party Protests | Thousands protest Quebec budget | Montreal police accused of protest sabotage | 100 arrested at anti police brutality march in Montreal | Former premier Bill Vander Zalm rallies against the HST in BC | General strike cripples Greece as protesters clash with police | EU Parliament votes down ACTA global copyright resolution by overwhelming margin | Athens erupts as Greek austerity plan passes | Anti-prorogation group becomes pro-participation | Downtown Toronto to become a fortress for G20 summit | Black bloc taints anti-Olympic movement | China insider sees revolution brewing | Greek workers stage general strike | Feared police crackdown absent during Games | Toronto braces for G20 disruption, Ottawa to pick up security tab | Vancouver Olympics protesters fall silent as Black Bloc ruins it for everyone | Ivory Coast protesters killed | Convention centre confirmed as location for Toronto G20 summit | Police lines block overwhelmingly peaceful Olympic protest march on BC Place Stadium | Protesters in Vancouver slum force Olympic torch off-course | Clashes reported as Iranians march on 31st anniversary of revolution | Greek workers ‘give their reply’ to proposed austerity plan with national strike | Activists Shut Down Australian Government Websites in Internet Filter Protest | Protesters target final leg of Vancouver Olympic torch run | Domestic threats biggest Olympic security concern: expert | Kremlin shocked as Kaliningrad stages huge anti-government protest | Pie tossing is terrorism, MP says. Seriously. | Thousands of Canadians protest shuttering of Parliament | Anti-prorogation protest dogs PM | War resister released from U.S. prison | UK: Anti-terror stop and search policy ruled illegal by European human rights court | German ‘Fleshmob’ Protests Airport Scanners | For more see The Memory Hole — Protest