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Police Add Water Cannon to G20 Arsenal

by Jesse McLean

TORONTO - Police have added a water cannon to their arsenal as they step up security ahead of this week’s G20 summit in Toronto.

A demonstrator lies on the ground after being hit by a police water cannon during an anti-government rally in Valparaiso, Chile, May 21 2010. (Ivan Alvarado/Reuters) Provincial police Const. Michelle Murphy of the Integrated Security Unit says the water projection system will be used to control large crowds if there are riots.

Workers were busy all weekend building the zigzag of steel fencing that will surround the leaders and delegates during this week’s G20 summit and have put the finishing touches on the three-metre-tall fence that surrounds the security zone.

Security preparations for summit are becoming more and more noticeable. Scores of police — some, brought it from cities coast to coast, still wearing their out-of-town uniforms — were patrolling the downtown core Sunday.

Meanwhile, three bronze elephant statues that decorate Commerce Court near King and Bay Sts. were temporarily removed because of the G20.

“The bike locks. The benches. They’re taking everything,” said a guard at the Court, a popular lunch spot for those working in the nearby bank towers.

The city has removed trash cans, bus shelters and even young saplings from the summit area out of concern the street furniture might be ripped out and used as arsenal by violent protesters.

Const. Wendy Drummond, spokesperson with the summit’s Integrated Security Unit. said the decision to move the matriarch elephant and her two calves was done by the property owner and not recommended by police.

The statues, however, could become targets, she said.

“They could spray paint. They could damage it that way.”

The portion of fence erected on Bay St., between Front and Wellington Sts., is causing “noticeable traffic congestion” that’s spreading to nearby streets around the security zone, Drummond said.

The portion of fence erected on Bay St., between Front and Wellington Sts., is causing “noticeable traffic congestion” that’s spreading to nearby streets around the security zone, Drummond said.

Busloads of out-of-town police were reportedly being shepherded inside the former Toronto Film Studios on Eastern Ave., where police have set up a hush-hush temporary jail for processing detained protesters.

Drummond said the increase in officers, in part, is to make citizens used to seeing so many police, and said the number of officers will grow “progressively” until it’s in the thousands.

Larger demonstrations are expected to begin Monday afternoon at Allan Gardens on Jarvis St., where protesters pledge to take “action against the agenda of the rich to marginalize and criminalize the poor.”

Demonstrations are planned throughout the week, including a block party and a tent city on Friday.

With files from The Canadian Press

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