In anticipation of protests planned for George W. Bush’s speech at the Surrey Economic Summit Thursday, Surrey RCMP are closing roads and ramping up police presence.
Mr. Bush, former U.S. president Bill Clinton and other speakers will address about 500 people at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel during the annual economic conference. Human rights groups including Amnesty International have called for Mr. Bush’s arrest, and Occupy Wall Street-inspired protesters plan a “flash occupation” outside the hotel.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger said in a statement that police respect protesters’ right to peaceful demonstration.
“We are anticipating a peaceful protest,” he said. “However, those who unlawfully interfere or threaten the safety of any person or property will be dealt with quickly and held accountable.”
Police will close 104th Avenue between 152nd and 154th Street to allow for protests, and will have “several dozen” officers strategically deployed.
The event is organized by the City of Surrey and Business Council of British Columbia. Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts will chair the event, and Premier Christy Clark will also attend. Tickets cost $599.
According to the event website, Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton will share their “invaluable perspectives on the new realities facing North America and the world’s major economies.”
Pam Woodall, senior editor with the Economist, and Stephen Moore, senior economics writer with the Wall Street Journal, will also speak about the roles of Asia and America in the world economy.
One human rights group plans to file a private prosecution against Mr. Bush in the name of four Guantanamo Bay detainees, to the Surrey provincial court Thursday. The Canadian Centre for International Justice says Canadian authorities are obligated to arrest Mr. Bush for the use of torture by U.S. forces.
A group called Occupy Surrey are planning a protest at 10 a.m. outside the Bay at Guildford Mall, on the corner of 152nd Street and 104th Avenue.
Amnesty International’s “Arrest Bush” group is urging Occupy Vancouver protesters gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to join the Surrey protest Thursday morning.
A recent Vancouver appearance by former vice-president Dick Cheney attracted about 200 protesters, with one arrest made.