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Delegates question $170 million APEC security, including rooftop snipers, 2.8m concrete fence and $600,000 water cannnon

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The APEC summit’s intense security had raised a few eyebrows among international delegates, reported The Australian (8/9/2007, p. 11).

Over the top security: At $170 million, APEC security included rooftop snipers, a 2.8m “ring of steel” fence anchored to concrete blocks, a $600,000 water cannon and a massive police presence. One trade minister believed the fence enclosing part of Sydney’s northern CBD was an overreaction, unnecessarily diminishing Sydney’s beauty. Another international delegate says it was all “too much”.

Delegate understands precautions: Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda yesterday said since national leaders were in Sydney for APEC during the week, intense security precau­tions were to be expected. “I observed that in terms of deployments of police, there is quite a big number,” he said. About 3500 NSW police were joined by 450 Australian Federal Police to secure the summit. Police deployed cars, motorbikes, bicycles, helicopters, rigid inflatable vessels and jetskis. Greens senator Kerry Nettle took aim at the largest security operation ever staged in Australia. “The police operation is overkill,” she told reporters at a protest in the heart of Sydney. “I’m glad the police, albeit belatedly, saw sense and allowed this peaceful event to proceed.”

Security preparations inspire awe: Police banned a number of events in Sydney’s “declared zone”, north of King Street, including a rally and march planned by the Stop Bush Coalition. International journalists also grumbled about the security operation, with veterans of international conferences noting they had rarely seen a lockdown so intense. “It’s the most draconian — in appearance — security I’ve ever seen,” said Agence France Presse bureau chief Marc Lavine. “In terms of the fence, the water cannon, the rolling prisons, the frogmen on jetskis — I’ve never seen a convergence like this. It’s really rather awe-inspiring.”

The Australian, 8/9/2007, p. 11

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