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Wanted: 500 extra police for G20 summit

An anti-establishment group claimed responsibility for the firebombing of a bank early last week, and vowed to “be there” at the upcoming G20 summit in Toronto.

Mike Carroccetto/Canwest News Service

An anti-establishment group claimed responsibility for the firebombing of a bank early last week, and vowed to “be there” at the upcoming G20 summit in Toronto.

By National Post Staff  May 22, 2010 – 11:13 am

By Adrian Humphreys 
and Kenyon Wallace

Toronto’s G20 Summit organizers have renewed a call to bolster police ranks by 500 officers after a Royal Bank of Canada branch in Ottawa was firebombed by anarchists this week, the National Post has learned.

“The bombing, obviously, spooked people,” said a Montreal police officer who asked for anonymity.

Officers from that city’s force, and others, were told they could book their vacations during the summit dates and earn double-time pay while working 12-hour shifts for nine days straight in the days leading up to and during the summit.

The request suggests that Toronto can expect to see a heavy police presence long before dignitaries start arriving in motorcades.

Montreal police have experience in crowd control, having been called to provide security to major events in the past, most notably the 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City.

Officers from out of town would have all travel expenses and room and board paid for, and would not be expected to be on the front lines as many are unable to bring their riot gear with them.

“It’s a good deal for us,” said an officer. “We’ll make some good money.”

The National Post has also learned that GTA forces have suspended approval of all new leave and vacation requests during the summit and police brass warned its officers they are “releasable” from all other case work should they be needed.

Another call to sign up officers went out after the firebombing of an RBC branch in Ottawa on Tuesday morning. After the attack, a group identifying itself only as FCCC-Ottawa posted an online video threatening to appear at the G20 summit in Toronto and the G8 summit near Huntsville next month.

Meaghan Gray, a spokeswoman for the G20 Integrated Security Unit, acknowledged that organizers have requested support from police forces across the country, but said she wasn’t aware of any specific request brought on by Tuesday’s firebombing.

“These arrangements have been underway for quite some time, well before any one specific incident,” she said, noting that officers specially trained in crowd control are of particular interest.

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May 20, 2010 — Today on the show, we’ll ask whether anxiety over the upcoming G20 summit in Toronto is amped up in the wake of a firebombing of sorts at a bank in Ottawa by a group who says it’s going to be around the event. Then, we’ll look at the newly revitalized idea of road tolls in the city, before flushing this whole podcast down Toronto’s new public toilet.

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