Pittsburgh beefs up security to greet G20 protesters | world | Hindustan Times
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Pittsburgh beefs up security to greet G20 protesters

world Updated: Sep 20, 2009 16:32 IST

Pittsburgh is beefing up security with thousands of extra police, as anti-globalization, anti-war, anti-government and anti-poverty activists descend on it for the G20 summit.

Protesters say they plan to air their opposition to "the undemocratic way in which the G20 operates and the decisions the group makes, which affect the more than six billion inhabitants of this planet."

World leaders gather in this once rough-and-tumble US steel town on Thursday and Friday, and while most of the protests are expected to be peaceful, 29-year-old mayor Luke Ravenstahl is taking no chances.

He wants Pittsburgh to show off its new clothes. Once known for smog and smelters, the southwest Pennsylvania city on the Ohio river has undergone a rebirth to emerge as a haven for green business and young professionals.

The fear in the minds of residents, officials and security forces is that violent demonstrations such as those seen in 1999 in Seattle where protesters and riot police faced off for days, disrupting a meeting of the World Trade Organization will mar this week's G20 summit.

"I hope they'll keep the protesters under control so Seattle doesn't repeat itself," said resident Nancy Provil.

Ravenstahl has said protesters will be allowed to exercise their constitutional freedom of speech and assembly "within sight and sound" of the summit venue.