A suspect package left outside the Bank of England turned out to be a false alarm, but police were not taking any chances ahead of Thursday’s G20 summit. About 5,000 police will be deployed across London, and a further 35,000 are on standby in case of any trouble. Authorities warn there is likely to be unprecedented levels of protest, leading to one of their biggest-ever security operations.
The former head of a police anti-terrorism unit, Steve Swain, said: “They will have specialist firearms officers out, which will include close protection and counter sniper. They will have search advisers to search the whole place, there will be the dogs, there will be traffic patrols, a specialist escort group, marine support, air support as well, general beat officers. So there will be the full range of capability that the Met has got.” World leaders have also brought their own security personnel. President Obama even shipped over his hi-tech armoured cadillac, as well as some 200 secret service agents. Many protesters, however, claim the police are guilty of raising tension by talking too much about the threats of violence. Kevin Smith of the Climate Camp protest group said: “I think the police have been responsible for a lot of sensationalism in the press. I mean every time we have had a climate camp, there have always been reports like this in the run-up to it, and that has never proved to materialise. We are going to have a very creative, fun protest and people should come down and see for themselves, rather than just believing the hype.” However, others say there is a big risk that peaceful demonstrations will now be hijacked by trouble-makers intent on causing violence.