Police Prepare For G8 Summit, Protesters

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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THURMONT, Md. (WJZ) — With foreign leaders coming to Maryland to meet with President Barack Obama next week, security will be heavy.

Even though the annual G8 summit will be tucked away at Camp David, Alex DeMetrick reports it’s visiting protesters police are preparing for.

Thurmont–the closest town to Camp David–is a quiet place and wants to stay that way.

“Hopefully, there’ll be nothing dramatic going on,” said Bill Gorman.

Summits like next week’s G8 summit have produced clashes between protesters and police in the past.

“There’s a lot of rumors going around: Thurmont’s going to shut down all the streets and we’re going to shut down the businesses. It’s not true,” said Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler.

Eyler says plenty of federal, state and local law enforcement will be in town.

“I’ve been talking to a few demonstrators and they’re going to show up. We don’t know how many are going to show up [but] all of them say they’re going to be peaceful,” Eyler said.

“We’re really friendly with anybody that comes into town,” said Pam Hamrick.

Hamrick runs a business and also thinks protesters will be peaceful.

“Well, we’ll just sit here and laugh at them if they don’t,” Hamrick said.

A staging area for demonstrations has been selected and it’s nowhere near the center of town. It’s out toward the edge at the community park where rallies will be held and part of Frederick Road will be open for marches.

“They have the right to their First Amendment rights, as do we to preserve peace and order. We’re going to work together,” Eyler said.

Thurmont is looking at the upside of visiting protesters.

“We’re looking forward to visitors who have money in their wallets and know how to open up those wallets,” Gorman said.

“We’re going to have plenty of resources and I don’t think we’re going to have the problems everybody thinks we’re going to have,” Eyler said.

The G8 summit hosted by the president will be held May 18 and 19.

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