Nuclear summit launches in Washington

Nearly 50 heads of state descend on Washington, DC for the nuclear security summit, disrupting life in the city.

As world leaders gather in Washington, DC for the Nuclear Security Summit, streets have been shut down and public transportation disrupted to make room for the dignitaries. The city's administration takes the security of the international heads of state very seriously. Washington, DC mayor Adrian Fenty announced preparations the week before the opening of the meetings and the police force is prepared for protests.

The summit is creating the largest security presence in Washington since President Barack Obama’s inauguration 15 months ago. More than a dozen blocks in downtown D.C. will be shut down for two days and anyone going in and out of the perimeter, even the residents who live in the area, will have to show a photo ID and go through a secrety service screening to get by. Officials have urged people who work in the area to stay home or telecommute. 

The precautions have not deterred everyone, however. Free Tibet activists are protesting near the summit site in the hope of getting their message to Chinese leader Hu Jintao. 

"We believe that if Tibet acts as an independent nation it could act as a buffer zone because Tibet straddles all those nuclear states, China, India, Pakistan, Russia… we believe that Tibet as an independent nation would definitely ease that tension," said one activist.

For many Washingtonians, however, the chance to make a meaningful contribution to world peace is important enough to endure some minor inconveniences.