"Twas the night before the G20
And all through Brisbane
The only creature a stirring was armed and ready
The roads were bare with all trash cans checked
In hopes the leaders would soon be here......"
Just kidding, but no really....
A couple of weeks ago we had the race that stopped the nation, last weekend we had the meeting that shutdown a town. The official meeting of The Group of twenty, also known as the G20 met in Brisbane this weekend. This group is made up of the big economic players in the world.
This group has only been an official group since 1999. If you are like me, you had no clue what counties would attend a meeting like this. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union are the countries that make up the G20. Here is what I found kind of funny, the group is twenty countries/groups, but there are ten groups that have permeant invitations and the hosting country can invite who ever they want. Australia invited 21 other countries. So really this year it should have been G51.
Who ever the leader of the G20 is for the year, has to host the official meeting. Now, as you can expect police were everywhere this weekend. 6,000 police and 900 soldiers, worked this weekend, most working 15 hour work days all weekend. I talked to a couple, they told us police were flown in from all over Australia.
This weekend was expected to cost Australia a whopping $470,000,000. They completely shut down the city. We had an official holiday Friday, and Josh could not go to his office Thursday since it was close to Obama's hotel (OBAMA DIDN'T GET HERE UNTIL SATURDAY.) On Friday we wanted to go see what Brisbane looked like as a ghost town. All we really saw was a ghost town, a lot of motorcades, one protester, and tons of cops. The pictures are some of the busiest streets and bus stations in Brisbane.
Want to know a crazy fact about the weekend? Saudi Arabia came to Brisbane two years ago to pick out their hotel. They didn't like any hotels, so they did what anyone would do, bought one. Yes, bought it, gutted it, and made it perfect for their operation just for this one weekend. Yes! All that for one weekend. Can you imagine having that kind of money? Wonder what they will do with it after the weekend is over.
Obama stayed at the Marriott. People around the CBD (downtown) were calling the Marriott, American soil for 48 hours. They completely shut down everywhere around it. His motorcade arrived two days early and practiced all his routes.
We told one of the cops on Friday, our car was in the shop and after much deliberation with our government, they thought since our car was in the shop we didn't really need a motorcade, we could just walk around the city like the commoners.
All joking aside, the week before the G20 was very tense. The Australian Prime Minister, Abbott, had harsh words with the Russian President, Putin, about the down MH17 flight that killed 34 Australians. As soon as their meeting was over the Russian President activated three war ships and had them heading on a course to Australia. During the G20 meeting other people had words had harsh words for Putin over Ukraine and Putin left the meeting early. Both sides said the meetings were very civil and Putin didn't get mad, he just had to get back to work. I am very glad that nothing happened in our town this weekend, this post could have been a lot different.
Now back to the poem....
"They drove to their planes, the security was loosened
And away they all went, like they all were a listening.
But I heard them exclaim as they flew out of Brisbane.
"Cheers to the G20, we did no dissing"."
Have you ever been to a city when they shut it down for some reason? What was it for? What was it like?