PARIS - Wary of terrorists and fearful of protesters, France has drawn up an elaborate plan to isolate the spa town of Evian from threats when leaders of the world's richest nations meet there in June.
The air force, the army and even the navy will be keeping watch during the June 1-3 summit in Evian, in eastern France on Lake Geneva, the weekly Journal du Dimanche reported Sunday.
President Jacques Chirac will host the meeting of leaders from the United States, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia.
A report on security obtained by the paper shows that summit planners envision potential threats coming from nearby Alpine peaks or even from the lake. They are taking measures to close off all access to Evian, effectively turning the town into a sanctuary, the paper said.
The intent is to minimize any terrorism threat and avoid a repeat of last year's G-8 summit in Genoa, Italy, in which an anti-globalization protester was shot dead by a Carabinieri paramilitary officer, and hundreds were wounded.
According to the paper, quoting the report, the air force is to "create an aeronautic bubble" over Evian, while the navy and a special crack police force will survey Lake Geneva.
A major fear is a hostage-taking on a tourist boat plying Lake Geneva, according to the report, which also mentions incursions into the summit area via a paraglider, popular in the Alps, or tracts dropped from the sky.
The army, meanwhile, will be called on to wage "electronic war aimed at disturbing the communication means of demonstrators" and localizing anyone trying to interfere with police airwaves, the paper quoted the report as saying.
Protesters will not be excluded entirely, but their voices will likely be heard far from the summit site — confined to the ski resort town of Chamonix, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) and several mountain peaks away, the Journal du Dimanche said.
It will not be the first time that France has isolated Evian in the name of security. The town, known for its bottled mineral water, was the site of peace talks that ended the seven-year independence war with Algeria. Then, the Algerian delegation stayed across the lake in Switzerland and was ferried into Evian daily by helicopter.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. NoNonsense English offers this material non-commercially for research and educational purposes. I believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner, i.e. the media service or newspaper which first published the article online and which is indicated at the top of the article unless otherwise specified.