WHISTLER -- A recent report by Canada's spy agency suggests that radical protesters will rally at an up-coming meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Whistler and the annual general meeting of the G8 in Kananaskis, Alberta.
Whistler councillors will be watching both meetings closely as the level of protests, and how they are handled by police, will affect the decision on whether the World Economic Forum will be invited to the resort town for its annual general meeting in 2004.
"We would like to monitor the meetings -- the one here [June 12-13], the one in Kananaskis and next year's [World Economic Forum] meeting in Davos [Switzerland]," said Whistler Mayor Hugh O'Reilly.
Whistler has agreed to host the WEF in 2004 if the organization meets a number of criteria including maintaining the safety of the community without interfering too much in the operation of the resort.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service report states radical Black Bloc elements, which disrupted previous international conferences, are likely to show up at the upcoming meetings.
It also notes that the events of Sept. 11 appear to have resulted in protest groups taking a less confrontational stance.
"The vast majority of protesters will attempt to stage non-violent demonstrations," the report says. "Those who support the use of violence including anarchists will continue to do so.
"Numerous groups including the Black Bloc elements are likely to organize for future protests, including the G8 meeting in Kananaskis in June 2002."
The Black Bloc knocked down sections of security fence and threw rocks, golf balls, concrete chunks and hockey pucks at security forces at the April 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City.
"The concerns that are voiced by CSIS are probably well-founded in the demonstrated actions of the Black Bloc," said RCMP media spokesman Sgt. Grant Learned.
He will be part of a team travelling to Whistler to help plan security for the meeting.
The RCMP is already in discussions with several protest groups to ensure protests go ahead without any problems.
But Learned said: "The difficulty is not with the organized peaceful protest, it is with the small eight-per-cent who are attending . . . with a clear mandate for public unlawfulness, destruction of property, and incitement."
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