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A construction worker puts up a three metre high steel security fence outside the Toronto Metro Convention Centre for the upcoming Toronto G20 summit in Toronto on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. (Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
A construction worker puts up a three metre high steel security fence outside the Toronto Metro Convention Centre for the upcoming Toronto G20 summit in Toronto on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. (Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Workers uproot trees, police order cars towed ahead of G20 summit Add to ...

Two unusual sights unfolded in downtown Toronto Tuesday, both connected to the security preparations for the upcoming G20 summit.

Near the security fence around the Rogers Centre, workers pulled small trees out of the ground, roots and all. Meanwhile, on Front Street east of Bay, police ordered a host of cars, motorcycles and scooters towed away.

The Integrated Security Unit, which is co-ordinating policing for the G20 and made up of RCMP and other police officers, said the deforestation of the security perimeter was a pre-emptive measure designed to thwart any adventurous protestors who might be tempted to uproot the saplings themselves for use as weapons.

The trees will be hauled away until the summit is over, when they will be replanted.

The mass round-up of motor vehicles, meanwhile, was the result of the start of new parking restrictions in force for the summit.

Taxi stands in the security zone were moved east and, in turn, displaced parking zones in the area.

Police put up signs warning drivers of the change, but several didn't see or didn't heed the warning.

"They should have checked and seen that changes are in effect. People are a creature of habit and they didn't check," said Constable Wendy Drummond, spokesperson for the ISU.

She said cabbies complained, prompting officers to roust the vehicles.

Police did offer some respite to the unpleasantly surprised motorists by waiving fines on any vehicles towed on Tuesday. Anyone who gets ticketed and towed Wednesday, however, will be expected to pay up, Constable Drummond said.

The restrictions last until June 28.

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