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Toronto mayor downplays security concerns, sells city aggressively

06-25-2010 11:00 BJT Special Report: Hu Visits Canada, Attends G20 Summit |

TORONTO, June 24 (Xinhua) -- With world leaders starting to arrive for the imminent Group of 20 (G20) summit, Toronto Mayor David Miller on Thursday downplayed media concerns about tight security and possible violent protests while actively promoting the host city for tourism and business.

"Toronto is incredibly safe ... There is nowhere in Toronto that is unsafe. You can walk anywhere in the city, it's incredibly safe," the mayor stressed at a press briefing held on Thursday morning in the International Media Center for the G8 and G20 summits.

This largest city in Canada, with a population of about 2.6 million, is hosting the G20 summit from June 26 to 27, immediately after a Group of Eight summit held in Muskoka, an obscure Canadian county about two hours of car ride from Toronto.

Asked whether he is concerned about some people's plan to protest against the G20 policies and Canada's hosting of the event over the weekend, which might mar the city's image as a peaceful place to live, the mayor responded: "That's something Toronto copes with every day ... And our Toronto police service has a well- earned reputation of policing democratic dissent appropriately and facilitating it."

While massive protests turned into violent clashes at the previous G20 summit in Pittsburgh, the United States last September, forcing the police to fire tear gas to disperse angry crowds on the streets, Miller confidently ruled out the possibility of any recurrence in Toronto.

"We do have a police service that is very very experienced and working ... to make sure that protests are facilitated as best as possible and that nothing violent happens," he said.

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