ROME Thousands of troops, including specialists in chemical, nuclear and biological warfare, will be part of the security used to protect world leaders at next week's Group of Eight summit in Genoa, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Minesweepers and other ships are also headed to the port city, and a missile defense system was installed earlier this week, the ministry said.
The government plans to use 2,700 army, navy and air force troops during the summit, but none will be deployed against demonstrators, according to the Defense Ministry. They will be used for air and sea patrols, and some surveillance work.
Crowd control is being left to between 12,000 and 16,000 police officers, who will be armed with tear gas, water cannon and batons.
Anti-globalization protesters are expected in the thousands at the July 20-22 summit in the Italian port city.
Protests have evolved into a fixture of international meetings since riots rocked the 1999 World Trade Organization conference in Seattle and the 2000 meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in the Czech Republic.
The anti-missile system set up as a precaution is a short-range, anti-aircraft battery similar to those deployed at several of the country's airports, Col. Paolo Bressan said.
Dubbed the SPADA, the land-based system consists of missiles capable with a range of more than 9 miles and an altitude of 5,000 feet, Bressan said.
Citing security reasons, Bressan refused to say how many missiles the system contained.
With many leaders, aides and journalists being lodged on ships or in hotels near the port, and with the conference sites also near the sea, water security is considered crucial.
Navy personnel, including divers, will be involved in inspecting ship hulls for mines as well as sea patrols. A torpedo destroyer and a minesweeper are part of the fleet.
Air force planes will survey the city from the skies, and the army is supplying paratroopers and bomb disposal experts.
The G-8 will be attended by leaders of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia.
© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press