S.Africa readies 2,500 police for UN climate talks

25th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa will deploy 2,500 police officers to the UN climate talks starting in Durban next week, ready to stamp out any violent protests, the police minister warned on Friday.

"Police will not tolerate criminal acts that are disguised as demonstrations, which in some cases include destruction of property and intimidations," said minister Nathi Mthethwa.

"We will unapologetically deal with such criminal acts decisively and we require no permission from anyone. Should such incidents occur, we will as demonstrated before, ensure that those who commit such acts face the wrath of the law to its fullest."

The government has given the nod to a civil society march next Saturday.

The talks' venue and surrounding grounds will come under UN responsibility while South African police is in charge of perimeter security.

"We have reviewed our plan and we are ready. Police will be everywhere, ready for any eventuality," Mthethwa said.

"We will have over 2,500 designated officers around the event precinct, and many others at the points of entries into the country, that is, airports, harbours and border gates."

The talks start Monday and run until December 9 and are seen as make or break for the Kyoto Protocol whose commitments to curb carbon emissions are set to expire.

© 2011 AFP

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