Governor declares state of emergency for G-8 Summit
The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Gov. Sonny Perdue has declared a state of emergency in six Georgia coastal counties beginning Monday as a security precaution for the G-8 summit.
Citing, among other reasons, the ''potential danger to the persons and property of this state from unlawful assemblages, threats of violence and otherwise,'' the executive order creates a unified public safety command for the summit, set to take place June 8-10 on Sea Island.
The order, signed by Perdue on May 7, does not provide additional money or change criminal laws in Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden counties.
But the action, which could last through June 20, will align the Georgia Army National Guard, state law enforcement and public health agencies under one office, potentially reducing the response time in the event of terrorist strikes or disruptive protests, said Harold Melton, Perdue's executive counsel.
The last time a governor used such an order was during the 1996 Olympics, he said.
G-8 protesters said declaring a state of emergency was an overreaction and would not stop demonstrators from exercising their rights.
''I don't care if it goes to martial law,'' said William Pleasant, who's planning a protest in Savannah's Forsyth Park. ''This is still a constitutional democracy. My friends and I will write and speak and perform.''