With a substantial police presence surrounding them, anti-G20 Summit protesters said the massive security protest apparatus is designed to protect world leaders from dissent and not danger.

"We would especially like to welcome the huge number of cops here -- on horse, on bikes, waiting in their trucks and vans and showcasing their intimidation tactics on community members gathered here today," said Aruna Boodram of the Toronto Community Mobilization Network on Tuesday.

"So thanks for proving our point," she added.

"On the 25th of June, we will become prisoners in our own home," added Greg Thomas. "This is Toronto, not Tiananmen Square."

There was a major security presence at the news conference, CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney reported from the scene.

Delaney said when he tried to park in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, police asked him for media identification. More and more of the security fence is going up around the centre, and police are asking more and more people about their business in the area, he said.

Insp. Howie Page told CTV News that the police presence at the news conference wasn't an intimidation tactic. "We were certainly here only to protect the people who were actually protesting," he said.

The G8 Summit, which involves the leaders of the world's eight largest economies, commences on June 25 near Huntsville. On June 26 and 27, the leaders of the world's 20 largest economies will be holding their summit at the convention centre.

Police have created a designated protest zone at the north end of the Queen's Park legislative grounds.

A three-kilometre-long, three-metre-high security fence that will snake its way around the convention centre is currently under construction.

To access the inner security zone, you will require a pass and photo ID.

On the website of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit, the government said police will not prevent demonstrations from being held, saying individuals "have a right to express themselves in a lawful, peaceful and responsible manner. We value and will uphold these rights while ensuring public safety, peace and good order are maintained."

Police won't speculate on the number of activists that might show up.

"We are planning for any eventuality and will ensure these individuals are accorded the opportunity to express themselves in a lawful, peaceful and responsible manner," the website said.

It also noted: "We believe it is a small minority of activists who could be considered to be violent or radical."

However, the police have been trying to communicate that they do take summit security very seriously.

Last Thursday, police showed off some of the tools at their disposal, such as:

  • mounted units
  • heavily-protected riot police
  • Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs)

Police said LRADs, which can be loud enough to cause hearing damage, won't be used as weapons. Instead, they will be used to get the attention of crowds for announcements.

Police in Pittsburgh used an LRAD to control anti-G20 protests there during the group's meeting in late September 2009. It is believed to have been the first use of such a device against civilians in U.S. history.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney