President Obama has announced he will visit Belfast, during his three-day trip to the United Kingdom and Germany surrounding the Group of Eight (G8) Summit, being held in County Fermanagh in June.
On Friday the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, issued a statement announcing that the president wished to “engage with the people of Northern Ireland and highlight the hard work, dialogue and institutional development they have undertaken together.”
At the same time an anti- capitalist group, named Stop G8, published a map on their website detailing the location of international banks, hedge funds and other targets where people can “show their anger."
Authorities told Reuters it is unclear how many people are involved in the group or how large the demonstrations might be. However recent protests against austerity cuts in Britain have been marred by rioting anarchists.
In 2009 the G20 economic summit in London was protested by tens of thousands of people. These demonstrations ended in 100 arrests. Similarly there were clashes in Scotland in 2005 when the head of the G8 met.
This year on June 17 and 18 the G8 leaders of industrialized nations will meet at the Lough Erne resort in County Fermanagh. Already one of the anti-ceasefire Irish republican terror groups, Óglaigh na hÉireann, recently planted a car bomb near the resort. They stated the attack was aborted due to a high-security presence.
British authorities announced, on Thursday, that 3,600 police officers would be sent to Northern Ireland during for the period surrounding the summit to provide support against militant Irish nationalists and anti-capitalist protesters.
The Group of Eight is made up of President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, France’s President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. This year’s meeting will be hosted by the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron.
Ireland’s Enda Kenny is expected to join them for a time in Fermanagh.
The New York Times reports that Obama hope to ease tensions with Russia during this year’s meetings. Putin skipped last year’s G8 Summit, which Obama held at Camp David, Maryland.
Following Obama’s visit to the UK he will travel to Berlin to have further meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck of Germany.