A few hundred protesters gather outside the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel

Crowd of a few hundred gathers outside Surrey economic summit

Sign-carrying protesters in Guildford oppose the appearance of George W. Bush.

Carrying signs with slogans such as “Complicit in Torture,” “Arrest George Bush,” and “Shame, Shame, Shame,” a growing crowd of protesters are facing a line of police in Guildford, as the Surrey Regional Economic Summit continues.

At least four RCMP helicopters are circling above the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, along with an unmarked black helicopter and those belonging to local news outlets.

So far, security personnel outnumber the protesters.

Speakers at the summit have included economics journalists and Craig and Mark Kielburger, co-founders of Free the Children, but the most contentious guest is former U.S. president George W. Bush, who is appearing with Bill Clinton, also a former American president.

Bush and Clinton’s talk began at 12:45 p.m. today.

The presence of Bush has created a firestorm of controversy among critics who accuse him of war crimes, specifically allowing torture.

Last week, Amnesty International called for the arrest of Bush when he touches down in Canada.

“Canada is required by its ipolice linenternational obligations to arrest and prosecute former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture,” Amnesty International sent out in a release.

Police are lined up out front of the hotel and have shut down 104 Avenue between 152  and 154 Streets to accommodate the crowd.

“We’ve had to develop a robust and very structured operational plan,” Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger said.

He said police will be taking a meet-and-greet approach to the crowd, as was done at Scott Road and 72 Avenue during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Leader has a reporter and photographer at the scene and will be updating this story as the events unfold.

If you have images or stories from the summit you’d like to share, email us at newsroom@surreyleader.com or share on http://www.facebook.com/surreyleader

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