04 February 2009

Getting Ready

The Munich Security Conference starts on Friday and over the last few days the names of those attending have been made known. Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy will be in town, as will the new US Vice-President, Joe Biden. The UK is only sending the boy Milliband, so clearly Gordon doesn't take it too seriously.

On the Conference programme are discussions on NATO, Russia, Natural Gas and the Middle East: The Future of European Security and Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and the Future of Nuclear Weapons: Is a Zero Option Possible? The assembled worthies will also find time to discuss security issues in Afghanistan, the Transcaucasus and the Balkans as well as Global Challenges and the Crisis of International Order.

Good luck chaps.

The protestors have also announced their intentions. The main demonstration will take place on Saturday with a march from Marienplatz to Odeonsplatz via a very circuitous route. The protestors are expected to number around 5,000. Extra police have been drafted into the city to provide security at the Bayerischer Hof, where the Conference will be taking place and, no doubt, to deal with those among the protestors who will be looking for a fight.

There was evidence today of the police's preparations: piles of crowd control barriers were stacked in the Hofgarten near the entrance to Odeonsplatz, and a police helicopter was circling low around the square.

The weather forecast for the weekend is for snow - heavy or light depending on whose forecast it is. I'm sure the police would prefer driving rain to keep the number of protestors down - there's nothing like the prospect of getting cold and wet to dim the enthusiasm for world peace. If it does snow, though, perhaps the Conference participants and the protestors could get together in the English Garden and sort out their differences with a giant snowball fight.

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