DETROIT (AP) - Law enforcement officials increased security and practised riot-control techniques to prepare for the arrival Wednesday of the energy ministers of the eight major industrialized countries.
The Group of Eight Ministers energy summit, to be held Thursday and Friday at the Renaissance Center, is the first G-8 gathering to focus on energy since a Moscow meeting in 1998.
Detroit police, Michigan State Police, U.S. Customs, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies have spent months co-ordinating security measures, the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press reported.
"We want to assure city council and the citizens out there that this police department has been quite prepared to be able to have a peaceful and successful G-8 conference," Detroit Police Chief Jerry Oliver said at a council meeting Monday.
He said there have been no specific threats made against the city or the conference.
In addition to the United States, the countries that will participate in the summit are Canada, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Japan and Italy.
Protesters at a July G-8 meeting touched off riots in Genoa, Italy, where one protester was killed. Rioting at 1999 G-8 sessions in Seattle caused millions of dollars in damage and a gathering in Windsor, Ont., two years ago led to arrests.
"We're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best," Detroit Police Sgt. Ricardo Moore said. "We're up against some serious issues."
Moore said there won't be any street closures, and the only noticeable change should be the closure of the riverfront promenade from Cobo Center to the Renaissance Center. He said police will also enforce bans on obstructing buildings and wearing masks. No demonstration permits had been issued as of Tuesday morning. But environmental groups critical of G-8 policies toward developing countries are expected to be in Detroit to oppose resolutions that do not address global warming, conservation and alternative energy sources.
Representatives of the Interfaith Committee on Workers Issues, Greenpeace Canada and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, planned a rally and march Wednesday night.
U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham is chairing the event, which was outlined as a major goal of President George W. Bush's national energy policy unveiled last May. Canada, a major supplier of energy to the United States, is co-hosting the summit.
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