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Intense Security Surrounds Nuclear Summit

  • David Dyar

A military truck near the venue hosting delegates to the nuclear summit

A military truck near the venue hosting delegates to the nuclear summit

Security is tight in Washington as presidents, prime ministers and kings from 47 countries are meeting in the US capital on a battle plan to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands. The event is the largest assembly of world leaders hosted by a US president in six decades.

Sharp-shooters stood guard on the roof of the conference site. A heavy black security fence barricaded the perimeter. Police began closing 10 streets around the convention center Sunday evening.....more than 12 hours before the first meetings were to begin.

President Obama arrived early for unilateral meetings with leaders from Jordan, Armenia, Ukraine, Malaysia and China. Nearly 50 world leaders are in Washington for the two-day summit -- the largest such gathering hosted by the United States since 1945, when the United Nations was formed.

The tight security prevented pedestrians from crossing streets midway down the block. It also delayed Kheenan Sneed. He works at a coffee shop inside the convention center. "I didn't know that we couldn't come this way, so I guess I got to (have to) walk down, go down a couple blocks and check and see. So hopefully I can get in," he said.

Local businesses such as one doggie day care also felt the squeeze.

"Yeah, it's a nightmare," said Amanda Brady, who adds that "Wagtime Doggie Daycare" survived three blizzards this year....and now she's trying to bounce back from this. "We are usually incredibly busy in the morning, from 7 until about 10:30. We've got about 110 dogs coming in on an average day. Today we had 25, so a very slow day for us," she said.

Water deliveryman Michael Ford will make only a few delieveries today. He began the day crossing off clients he can't reach. "(I) can't go down no (any) streets. My area today is about a three block radius and all of it is blocked off. So, I probably can't get to the rest of it until Wednesday or Thursday when all this is said and done," he said.

Most people take it in stride, because Washingtonians are accustomed to cycling through big events. But not with quite this many dignitaries.