Thurmont preparing, cautiously, for the world
Main Street of the town of Thurmont, Md. will be gearing up for the G-8 Summit that will be held May 18th and 19th. (By Yvette May/Staff Photographer / May 12, 2012)
Mayor Martin Burns said shop windows and sidewalks will be clean and the grass in the park will be mowed.
Businesses will brace for a flood of visitors, including many American and foreign journalists covering the G-8, or Group of Eight. The Group of Eight nations are the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.
A White House statement said the summit, to be held on Friday and Saturday, “will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues.”
One of the biggest unknowns is the protests.
Local Occupy protest movements will hold two events in Frederick, Md. But no one is sure if more aggressive, confrontational protesters will show up, as they have at other G-8 Summits and similar meetings of world leaders.
“We’re going to plan for the worst,” Thurmont Police Chief Gregory L. Eyler said.
Thurmont Police are preparing with state and county police agencies, as well as the U.S. Secret Service.
Catoctin Mountain Park, the home of Camp David, will be closed from about 8 a.m. on Thursday to about 8 a.m. on Sunday, according to the National Park Service.
Cunningham Falls State Park will be closed to the public Wednesday through Sunday. Md. 77 in the area of both parks also will be closed during that period.
The G-8 Summit originally was scheduled to be held in Chicago, but the White House announced in March that it would be moved to Camp David, the presidential retreat near Thurmont.
A NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit is scheduled to go on as scheduled on May 20 and 21 in Chicago.
It’s not clear how many protesters bound for Chicago will go to Thurmont instead.
Protests in the works
A message posted this month at a website for the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty said the group will stick to ts plan to march in Chicago during the NATO Summit.
Participants in the local Occupy protest movement have scheduled events in Frederick on the same days as the G-8 Summit.
One will be a Peoples’ Summit on Friday at the C. Burr Artz Public Library community room, with discussions about the wealth divide, ending poverty and other topics.
On Saturday, there will be a block party at Baker Park.
Gary Staples, who is part of Occupy Frederick, said he wouldn’t criticize protesters who are more forceful and angry because he empathizes, but “I just think there’s a better way.”