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Germany

Germany Seals Off Sea-Side Town Ahead of G8 Summit

German security forces sealed off the Baltic seaside town of Heiligendamm early Wednesday ahead of next week's G8 summit. It's just one of a series of tight, yet controversial security measures.

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Workers put the finishing touches on the metal fence in Heiligendamm

German television pictures showed shots of the 2.5-meter (2.7 yard) metal fence, topped with barbed wire, that runs 11.6 kilometers (7.2 miles) around the town.

Early Wednesday morning, authorities closed off the two access points leading to the resort in Heiligendamm.

The closure also affects a railway line and a road through the resort; boats are banned from the area near the shore.

Deutschland G8 Sicherheit Terror Demonstration gegen Razia der Polizei

Demonstrations have been going on for weeks across Germany

With the fence being a general security precaution, the controversial measures are also designed to keep anti-globalization demonstrators well away from the world leaders attending the summit.

Protestors, however, have called the security steps excessive.

Pricey security

About 16,000 members of the security forces, more than five percent of Germany's total, will be on duty in the town to deal with what could be as many as 100,000 protestors.

The security operation has been the focus of heated debate, not least because of its 12.5 million-euro ($16.8 million) price tag.

Most normal traffic will be banned from the zone until June 9, a day after the summit's end.

Only local residents, delivery vehicles and the hotel staff looking after the high-powered delegations will be allowed through the two checkpoints in the 2.5 meter (8 foot)-tall metal and concrete fence that creates the the security zone. Around 1,000 people will be issued with special badges.

Demonstration in Gleneagles

Demonstrators broke through a police line in Gleneagles in 2005

On Friday, a German court partially overruled a ban on demonstrations within a radius of five kilometres (three miles) of the Baltic Sea resort.

The court in Schwerin in northeastern Germany said protests should be allowed on the other side of a security fence encircling the hotel where leaders of the Group of Eight most-industrialized nations will gather.

The German government had wanted to keep protestors out of sight of the fence.

It has made clear that it does not want a repeat of violence that has marred previous G-8 summits, such as in Genoa, Italy in 2001.

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