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France

Heavy security in Deauville ahead of G8 summit

Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

France is to mobilise over 12,252 police, gendarmes and troops as the leaders of the eight richest developed countries are set to gather in the fashionable seaside resort of Deauville in northern France on Thursday.

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to lower the security bill for the event after Canadian authorities were criticised for spending over one billion Canadian dollars for last year’s G8 and G20 summits. France currently holds the chair of the G8.

However a combination of low poll ratings for Sarkozy and fears of revenge attacks following Osama bin Laden’s death means security services are taking no chances.

An elite special forces team is on standby, the army has a command post on a hill overlooking the city and police climbers from the Alps have been drafted in to ward off protestors attempting to scale the nearby Tancarville and Normandy bridges.

Police will also patrol the rolling hills around the town on horseback and mountain bikes.

The Arab Spring, the Nato operation in Libya, the war in Afghanistan and the replacement of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the IMF will all be on the agenda for the world leaders.

Local governor and police chief Didier Lallement has stated that he would like to avoid a “ring of steel” in Deauville, a tactic which has been used for past summits.

Protestors say they will hold demonstrations in nearby Le Havre, as well as Paris and Berlin.

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