BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentine authorities say that Buenos Aires will be an armored city when world leaders arrive for this week’s G-20 summit. But security failures that
marred a soccer champion-ship and unrest over an
economic austerity pro-
gram are raising concerns about the country’s ability to ensure safety.
About 22,000 police and security agents will guard U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders from the Group of 20 industrialized and emerging nations during the two-day meeting that starts Friday. At least another eight U.S. aircraft and up to 400 American military personnel and civilians are expected to provide security.
“We’re working on every detail,” said Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich at a press conference addressing G-20 concerns. “We don’t have disagreements, and even less so in these types of team operations.”
But even with beefed-up security, the Argentine government will inevitably be facing demonstrations with potentially thousands of activists, some from other parts of the world.
Anarchist and anti-capitalist groups have announced they will stage protests under the slogan “Get Out G-20, Get Out IMF,” while messages posted on social media are demanding the ouster of Trump and other leaders, such as Brazil’s far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who will take office on Jan. 1.
The summit comes just days after an inopportune soccer-related incident also threw public security measures into question.
Critics say police on Saturday failed to prevent an attack on players from the Boca Juniors soccer club when River Plate fans hurled stones and other objects at their team bus as they headed to play a championship match.
Argentina is the first South American country to host the G-20 summit, and officials have the added challenge of ensuring that chaos is better contained than it ws at last year’s meeting in Hamburg, Germany.
At that summit, a nearly 15-square-mile “no-protest zone” encompassing the airport in Hamburg was blocked off as clashes broke out between police and protesters.
Authorities have reiterated that they’ll crack down on any effort to disrupt the gathering and will not tolerate violence.
“Whoever manifests does so in the framework of peace and free expression and not in that of violence,” said Minister Bullrich.
Regardless, unrest is already bubbling beneath the surface.
Earlier in November, two attempted attacks using homemade devices were made on a judge’s home as well as the mausoleum of a police chief; false bomb threats on a bank and a train station added to the sense of unease.