Reporting Mary Bubala
THURMONT, Md. (WJZ)– Leaders from the most powerful countries in the world descend on Maryland for the G-8 Summit. Critical world issues will be on the table, including the European financial crisis and the war on terror. And it’s all happening in a small mountain town.
Mary Bubala has more on the massive security for this high-profile international assembly.
Thurmont is the closest town to Camp David. The authorities and residents of the town are used to high-profile dignitaries coming through their town, but not on this scale with so many powerful people gathered at one time in one place. The security is unprecedented.
Thurmont — a small mountain town in Maryland just down the road from Camp David– is bracing for world leaders, their staff, the press and the attention of the world to be focused in on them.
“I just don’t want it to get out of hand,” Thurmont police chief Greg Eyler said.
Eyler tells WJZ they have been planning for more than a month, assessing the threats from protesters and preparing the town.
Some businesses closed down altogether while potential weapons have been removed. For example, covers to water meters are bolted down.
“Like trash cans, if they’re not chained down, they can use them as weapons to break through windows. We had, which was unfortunate, we had butterflies made by citizens here in town. We had them on the parking meters. Very decorative and we liked it but we had to take them down,” said Eyler.
Protesters are starting to show up with both Occupy Baltimore and Frederick expected. There’s also a 30-mile no-fly zone already in effect above Camp David.
And security is in place with a roadside camera up and running.
In an unprecedented move, the Secret Service ordered the complete shut down of Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park which surround Camp David.
It is tighter security than what was in place for the Middle East Peace Summit in 2000.
“I think Camp David is going to be the safest, most secure place in the planet this weekend,” Chuck Jenkins, sheriff of Frederick County, said. “Our role is outside of that perimeter, outside of that area. And my concern is the other 644 square miles of Frederick County.”
Contingency plans are in place in case large-scale protests descend on this town. Authorities, however, still do not know how many people are going to show up.