Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blasts Vindicate G-8 Sea Island Readiness; the Federal Government Allocated $25 Million for Security for 2004 Summit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blasts Vindicate G-8 Sea Island Readiness; the Federal Government Allocated $25 Million for Security for 2004 Summit

Article excerpt

Byline: BRIAN BASINGER

ATLANTA -- The series of terrorist bombings Thursday in London served as a grim reminder of what Georgia officials feared could have happened last year when the Peach State hosted the Group of Eight summit.

The annual meeting of leaders of the world's industrialized nations is taking place this week in Gleneagles, Scotland, only hours north of the attacks, which killed dozens and wounded hundreds on London's public transportation system.

Last year, the G-8 came to the Georgia coast, with President Bush meeting privately with other leaders on Sea Island and thousands of journalists stationed in Savannah.

The federal government allocated $25 million for security along the state's coast and thousands of security officers blanketed the area in anticipation of potential riots, protests and possibly even a terrorist attack.

Security was on high alert elsewhere in the state, including Atlanta.

In the end, only a few hundred protesters -- mostly peaceful -- showed up, though police later arrested 14 people in Brunswick for blocking a road.

Still, Gov. Sonny Perdue said the significant amount of funding and manpower used during the 2004 G-8 wasn't without merit.

"The tragic events in London today illustrate that the time and money we dedicated to protect the G-8 Summit in Sea Island were well spent," Perdue, on vacation, said in a statement. "This news just goes to show that even with the best preparation, violence can occur in today's world."

Lisa Ray, spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, echoed Perdue's comments regarding the explosions in London.

"I think it certainly makes us feel somewhat validated with all the time and coordination we spent planning for the G-8 summit last year," Ray said. "I think we looked at every aspect possible in planning for the G-8. …

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