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05/31/2010

All Star Security

Richard Lautens - Staff Photographer

On Sunday I was assigned to cover the Toronto visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  He was speaking at the United Jewish Appeal's Walk for Israel fundraising event.  It was also the first time in 32 years an Israeli prime minister visited Toronto.
I was astounded at the amount of security on hand. 
There were metal detectors like at the airport to get into the facility as well as police and other security all over the place.  Once inside the Ricoh Coliseum, media were not then allowed to leave and come back in-a problem for colleagues of mine who are smokers.
Once inside (hours before the event), I couldn't believe the number of barricades, police, other security and men in suits with bulges under their arms who were speaking into their sleeves.
We were forced to shoot from the penalty box area and I was glad I brought a 500mm lens as that is the only lens I really used.  We were also way off to the side with no possibility of a front on angle.  To further add to the photo woes, there was a teleprompter screen and a 7 foot high, 4 foot wide, 2 inch thick piece of glass in our way to a good shot. 
When I complained about the bulletproof glass in our view of the podium I was assured that it was not bulletproof glass but a very large teleprompter---riiiiiiiight.  
I can't imagine the dangers that face Mr. Netanyahu on a daily basis.  It is a shame that any leader of any country must face these issues frankly.  I'm just glad that one of the worst security problem any of our prime ministers have faced was Jean Cretien years ago when someone broke into 24 Sussex avenue and the only thing protecting our PM was a closed door and a soapstone carving.
It's good to be in Canada.

RL_netanyahu_0530_blog

Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the crowd behind special glass and surrounded by police, secret service and personal bodyguards.


-rlautens@thestar.ca

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The photo perfectly illustrated those dangers. Great capture

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