Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Martin McGuinness calls for peace on the streets ahead of G8 summit

Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's summit in Enniskillen
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's summit in Enniskillen
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's summit in Enniskillen
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's summit in Enniskillen
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's summit in Enniskillen
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's summit in Enniskillen
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's summit in Enniskillen
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's summit in Enniskillen
Protesters are seen at the start of a demonstration on Oxford Street as part of a protest ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Demonstrators are detained by police during a protest in London, Tuesday, June 11, 2013 .The protestors were demonstrating against the upcoming G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 17 and 18. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Riot police hold off protesters in Golden Square during a demonstration ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Riot police clash with protesters in Golden Square during a demonstration ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Protesters are seen holding placards during a demonstration on Regent Street as part of a protest ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
The new banner unveiled for the G8 protest at Belfast City Hall which will lead the Belfast G8 protest on Saturday organised by the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Kevin Cooper/NIC-ICTU/PA Wire
Bill Gates makes a speech during the Big IF London anti-hunger event in Hyde Park, London. Enough Food for Everyone IF, a coalition of over 200 UK organisations, has arranged Big IF London; a free public rally campaigning for action to be taken by G8 leaders to eliminate world hunger. The event kicks off IF's 10-day campaign in the lead up to the G8 summit in Northern Ireland
A demonstrator being detained by police on the roof of a building in central London. Riot police have been deployed throughout London's West End amid protests against the G8 summit. Dwaine Field-Pellew/Absolute Radio/PA Wire
Police and demonstrators on a building in central London. Riot police have been deployed throughout London's West End amid protests against the G8 summit. Dwaine Field-Pellew/Absolute Radio/PA Wire
Police restrain a protester in Soho, central London, amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Police prepare to access the convergence centre that activists of the Stop G8 protest group off Beak Street are occupying ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama take part in the two day event. The chosen location is only 8 kilometers from the scene of one of Northern Ireland's worst killings back in 1987, however Cameron is confident that it's secluded location will deter any potential trouble. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Police restrain a protester in Soho, central London, amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Northern Ireland next week. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 11, 2013. See PA story POLICE G8. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Activists look through windows as police stand guard on the rooftop of the convergence centre of the Stop G8 protest group off Beak Street ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama take part in the two day event. The chosen location is only 8 kilometers from the scene of one of Northern Ireland's worst killings back in 1987, however Cameron is confident that it's secluded location will deter any potential trouble. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Police are seen on Beak Street to diffuse anti G8 protesters potentially becoming violent, as they reportedly occupy a Police Station ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama take part in the two day event. The chosen location is only 8 kilometers from the scene of one of Northern Ireland's worst killings back in 1987, however Cameron is confident that it's secluded location will deter any potential trouble. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Police are seen on Beak Street to diffuse anti G8 protesters potentially becoming violent, as they reportedly occupy a Police Station ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama take part in the two day event. The chosen location is only 8 kilometers from the scene of one of Northern Ireland's worst killings back in 1987, however Cameron is confident that it's secluded location will deter any potential trouble. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Police are seen on Beak Street to diffuse anti G8 protesters potentially becoming violent, as they reportedly occupy a Police Station ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama take part in the two day event. The chosen location is only 8 kilometers from the scene of one of Northern Ireland's worst killings back in 1987, however Cameron is confident that it's secluded location will deter any potential trouble. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Police are seen on Beak Street to diffuse anti G8 protesters potentially becoming violent, as they reportedly occupy a Police Station ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama take part in the two day event. The chosen location is only 8 kilometers from the scene of one of Northern Ireland's worst killings back in 1987, however Cameron is confident that it's secluded location will deter any potential trouble. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: People look on as police are seen on Beak Street to diffuse anti G8 protesters potentially becoming violent, as they reportedly occupy a Police Station ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama take part in the two day event. The chosen location is only 8 kilometers from the scene of one of Northern Ireland's worst killings back in 1987, however Cameron is confident that it's secluded location will deter any potential trouble. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Police are seen on Beak Street to diffuse anti G8 protesters potentially becoming violent, as they reportedly occupy a Police Station ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 11, 2013 in London, England. Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama take part in the two day event. The chosen location is only 8 kilometers from the scene of one of Northern Ireland's worst killings back in 1987, however Cameron is confident that it's secluded location will deter any potential trouble. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Police speak with a protester over the railings of a building on Beak Street in Soho, central London, amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police officers on duty in Soho, central London, where protesters with banners were believed to be occupying a former police station in Beak Street amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police officers on duty in Soho, central London, where protesters with banners were believed to be occupying a former police station in Beak Street amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police officers on duty in Soho, central London, where protesters with banners were believed to be occupying a former police station in Beak Street amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week`
Police watch as protestors hang banners on the railings of a building on Beak Street in Soho, central London, amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police on the roof of a building on Beak Street in Soho, central London, as protesters look through the windows amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police watch as a protester stands on the railings of a building on Beak Street in Soho, central London, amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police watch as a protester stands on the railings of a building on Beak Street in Soho, central London, amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police officers on duty in Soho, central London, where protesters with banners were believed to be occupying a former police station in Beak Street amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police officers on duty in Soho, central London, where protesters with banners were believed to be occupying a former police station in Beak Street amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police officers on duty in Soho, central London, where protesters with banners were believed to be occupying a former police station in Beak Street amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Police watch as protesters look through the windows of a building on Beak Street in Soho, central London, amid demonstrations ahead of the G8 conference in Fermanagh next week
Demonstrators hold up a banner against the G8 outside the headquarters of British based oil multinational BP during a protest in London, Tuesday, June 11, 2013 .The protestors were demonstrating against the upcoming G8 summit in Northern Ireland on June 17 and 18.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has urged anti G8 protesters to maintain peace on the streets.

He warned hardline anarchists intent on causing mayhem to stay away from legitimate demonstrations being held in Belfast and Enniskillen.

"I think all the people who come here from other parts of the world need to be very conscious that they are coming to a place that is no longer at conflict, to a country at peace. I would like them to respect our peace when they come.

"We certainly respect their right to come and articulate their views around issues that I feel equally strongly about such as world conflict, hunger, poverty, unfair taxation," he said.

A stark warning was also issued to dissident republicans who may seek to exploit the opportunity presented by the G8 to gain global publicity.

Mr McGuinness added: "I also say to people who are from here who might think that this is an opportunity to exploit (it) for their own interests, I believe they would be making a huge mistake because they run the very great risk of being confronted by peaceful protesters who want absolutely nothing to do with any violence or conflict on the streets."

Round-the-clock protection has been put on landmark properties across Belfast as the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) ramps up security measures ahead of the G8 summit on Monday and Tuesday.

A ring of steel has been erected around the luxurious Lough Erne complex where world leaders including US president Barack Obama, Russian president Vladimir Putin and German chancellor Angela Merkel will meet.

Roads in the area have been closed to traffic and vehicle check points have been set up close to the remote resort.

On Saturday, thousands of anti capitalist protesters are expected to take to the streets of Belfast to show their opposition to the G8 during a trade union rally.

Thousands more are expected to travel west to Enniskillen for another protest organised by Unite, the UK's biggest trade union and NIPSA which represents thousands of public sector workers in Northern Ireland on Monday night. Marchers will snake their way through the Co Fermanagh town towards the huge security fence which encircles the five-star hotel.

Shops, restaurants and multi-national banks are expected to shut or board up their fronts to protect premises if violence flares. Plastic sheeting has already been placed over stained glass windows at Belfast City Hall where marchers will converge on Saturday.

Queen's University has said it plans to close all of its buildings over the extended weekend amid fears they could be targeted by militants.

An additional 3,600 police officers have been drafted in from across the UK to provide back up for the 7,500 PSNI patrolling the streets.

Significant disruption is also expected with check points set up around Belfast International Airport from where the world leaders will arrive and depart.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson said he has confidence that the PSNI will be able to cope with any disorder.

"There are people, no matter where you would have this event in the world, who want to protest. If people want to protest the option is there. We encourage them to do so peacefully. If anybody is coming here to cause trouble then we look to the PSNI to deal with it. They are well experienced and equipped to do so.

"The PSNI have been dealing with these kind of issues for a very long period of time. There is a lot of experience in their ranks and they have obviously been augmented by officers from other police services. I have no doubt they will be able to deal with issues but I do not want to talk up the prospect of upheaval and violence. The police will do what they always do, they will prepare for the worst and hope for the best," the DUP leader said.

Political leaders hope the G8 will positively market Northern Ireland to a global audience and demonstrate the changes that have taken place since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Mr Robinson added: "We are now in a new era in Northern Ireland. Put simply the Prime Minister would not have had the confidence to put the G8 in Northern Ireland if we had not had the transformation that we have had over the last number of years. It is in itself a signal that Northern Ireland is a new place, it has changed dramatically and there is a level of peace and stability which mirrors that which you would see in any other part of the democratic world."

Mr McGuinness said the significance of hosting the G8 in a former conflict zone would not be lost on the world leaders.

"It should not be lost on the world leaders that they are coming to a country that is at peace and has successfully managed to forge agreements which are widely admired throughout the world. I would hope that they see us as a beacon of hope for the resolution of other conflicts throughout the world," he said.

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