G20 security forces analyze bank firebombing

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Justice/Politics

"Thugs" who firebombed a bank branch this week pose no danger to the G8 and G20 summits in Ontario next month because Canada's security is being run by the best in the business, says the public safety minister.

"The government condemns all acts of violence," Vic Toews said in a statement Wednesday. "The government of Canada has a comprehensive approach to security planning, and we are on track to host safe and secure G8 and G20 summits."

A fire marshal sets up equipment in front of a Royal Bank of Canada branch in Ottawa Wednesday. Anarchists, who claimed to have firebombed the bank, are vowing to take their protest to the upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Ontario. - Photo by The Canadian Pr

Ottawa -

"Thugs" who firebombed a bank branch this week pose no danger to the G8 and G20 summits in Ontario next month because Canada's security is being run by the best in the business, says the public safety minister.

"The government condemns all acts of violence," Vic Toews said in a statement Wednesday. "The government of Canada has a comprehensive approach to security planning, and we are on track to host safe and secure G8 and G20 summits."

An anarchist group claimed responsibility for the Royal Bank firebombing in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood, and has threatened destruction at the June meetings.

City police are leading the investigation, which destroyed the branch early Tuesday morning. No one was hurt.

Toews said he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been fully briefed on the incident.

"The (G8-G20) security plan has been developed by Canada's best experts in the field," Toews added.

"Let me be clear: we will not be influenced by thugs."

The Integrated Security Unit says it has reviewed video of the explosion, and is prepared to lend its intelligence expertise to Ottawa police.

"Any time this kind of thing happens, there is a need to step back and say ... 'Is this a one time (event)?"' said Michele Paradis, an ISU spokeswoman.

"It's an isolated incident now, and we hope that it stays as an isolated incident. We'll work on it from there."

The ISU is a joint-forces team drawing from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Forces and provincial and regional police. The goal is to protect the heads of state attending the G20 and G8 summits, and also to keep the host communities safe.

The unit was prepared for an incident such as the firebombing, Paradis said.

"We've been planning for all of this, and have been since Day 1," she said. "There has always been an element of the population that comes here (to summits) to commit criminal acts."

Violent protesters probably won't get very far, said security analyst John Thompson, president of the Mackenzie Institute in Toronto.

Summit security is usually so tight even the most sophisticated terrorists keep their distance.

"This is not a group that would be able to get anywhere close to the secure area."

City police have laid no charges and are saying little. The Ontario Fire Marshal's office is assisting.

Witnesses said three or four males were seen running from the scene and leaving the area in an SUV shortly before the fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

In a statement issued hours after the fire, an anarchist group said members targeted a Royal branch because the bank was a sponsor of the Vancouver Olympics, which were held on "stolen indigenous land."

The group also said the bank was a major financier of Alberta's oilsands, "one of the largest industrial projects in human history and perhaps the most destructive."

The statement was posted on the website ottawa.indymedia.org, along with a video showing what the group claimed was the bank attack.

The images, shot from across the street, show two people leaving the bank as fire explodes inside the building, shattering windows and causing about $300,000 damage.

"This is an escalation from what these guys have done in the past, and that's worrying," one federal source said.

Thousands of delegates, journalists, interest groups and protesters will fill the streets of Toronto on the last weekend of June. The summits will bring together the most powerful leaders in the world to Toronto and Huntsville, Ont.

Banks have frequently been the targets of vandalism at recent summits, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis.

In Toronto, bankers have been working with government, security and property management officials for months to ensure the downtown area is safe during the summits, said Maura Drew-Lytle, spokeswoman for the Canadian Bankers Association.

Some of the big bank towers in the financial sector will be inside the summit security perimeter, and others will be just on the outside of the fence, she said.

Organizations: Integrated Security Unit, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Forces Mackenzie Institute

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, Toronto Ontario Glebe Alberta Huntsville

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments