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12 Apr, 2010 09:29

Nuke summit brings capital to a halt

Washington DC has been brought to a standstill as 46 leaders prepare to attend a two-day nuclear summit in the US capital, aimed at making sure the world's nuclear stockpiles are safe and secure.

At the peak of Washington DC’s tourist season, city officials are now scrambling to get ready as world leaders descend on the city for President Obama’s nuclear summit.“The secretary of the DHS [Department of Homeland Security], Secretary Napolitano, designated this particular event a national special security event several weeks back. Since that point we have worked daily, sometimes hourly. I think we have a great plan in place,” shared Jeffrey Irvine, Secret Service special agent.The meeting will attract one of the largest gatherings of heads of state in one place ever and with that comes a security debacle for the US capital.Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier publicly announced that “My first goal in supporting a big event like this is making sure I have the appropriate balance to make sure that there’s no lack of police officers in the community all over the city and that we still have what we need to support this event.”This event will create the biggest security presence in Washington since President Obama’s inauguration.Washington DC police will work with the Secret Service to create a perimeter around the Washington Convention Center, where the meetings will take place. Nine blocks of roads in downtown DC will be closed off for two days, and anyone coming in and out of the area will have to show a photo ID and go through a Secret Service screening to get by.In addition, all public transportation, both buses and Metro, going through the area will be shut down, and in one of the busiest areas of the bustling city, the checkpoints and closures are likely to lead to chaos.“Obviously there will be some inconveniences. We will have to do things differently than we are accustomed to, but I think that’s a small price to pay. We’re living in the nation’s capital of the world’s greatest country,” noted Adrian Fenty, Washington DC’s mayor.However not everyone seems to agree. Locals expect problems getting to and from work, so they are not looking forward to the gridlockAnd while sightings of motorcades are common in DC, 46 of them driving through the city simultaneously could create massive delays and congestion in a city that is all too familiar with traffic problems.Public officials are even urging those directly affected to stay home to avoid the mess.For some, all the disorder surrounding the summit has raised their hopes that these meetings will lead to some kind of nuclear free world order.