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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 July, 2005, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
G8 locals 'stuck in the middle'
By Lisa Mitchell
BBC News in Stirling

Burger King
A Burger King restaurant became a target for rogue protesters

At 10 miles from Gleneagles, the people of Stirling had expected to remain largely immune from the security surrounding the luxury hotel hosting the G8 summit.

But a large campsite for protesters has ensured the focus of police is every bit on their city.

On Tuesday, the usual crowd of youths hung around outside McDonalds in Stirling high street.

On Wednesday, a security guard had joined them. By Thursday, there were two of them.

The city has found itself sitting uneasily between the police and anti-G8 protesters based on the banks of the River Forth.

American fast foods outlets in particular are nervous after the windows of a Burger King on the town's industrial estate were put in two nights ago.

You can't tell which are the peaceful ones and which are violent
Stirling shop worker

Some have boarded up their windows and the ones nearest to the protesters' camp have closed.

The car park in the industrial estate, which has a Currys, Comet and Morrisons, is empty.

One employee at the supermarket said the nearby violence had been "quite upsetting".

She explained: "My six-year-old son is scared that when I get to work I will be attacked.

"People are staying away from the shop. There's a lot of police here now but they weren't here yesterday."

The supermarket is used by the campers and she said "some are nice enough".

Cut off

"But you can't tell which are the peaceful ones and which are violent," she added.

Other local people found the first day of the summit frustrating.

Protesters trying to cause the maximum disruption, staged sit-down protests on surrounding roads.

People in small towns like Dunblane and Bridge of Allan found themselves cut off from the outside world for 24 hours.

Maurice Bechelli
It was impossible to find out what roads were closed. There was a real lack of information
Maurice Bechelli

Carmine Glannandrea, of Bridge of Allan, had hoped to spend Wednesday showing relatives from Brasil some sights, but even the local swimming pool had shut early.

"Every road we tried was closed. I think the police were caught by surprise yesterday," he said.

"I don't mind peaceful protest but these anarchists, it's just pure violence."

Maurice Bechelli, 61, also of Bridge of Allan, ended up looking after his granddaughter all day when her nursery in Stirling was closed.

"It was impossible to find out what roads were closed. There was a real lack of information on local TV," he complained.

The road closures and uncertainty has hit businesses badly.

Riot officers

John Carter, owner of The Grocer, a greengrocers and café, said takings were down a third on Wednesday and he expected to lose money until the end of the summit.

Mr Carter added: "The shop was dead. The buses weren't running so no-one came into town.

"I don't blame anyone because people have a right to protest. But we're a little business and this is costing me hundreds of pounds."

Stirling Railway Station
Heavy security has been visible all over central Scotland

Police presence in the area is very visible, with officers on roundabouts, bridges and in large numbers at Stirling train station.

One mum-of-two out for a run was startled to turn into a road in Dunblane and come face to face with riot police dressed head to toe in black carrying shields.

"It was scary," said Shirley Lumsden.

The 33-year-old said the last time the city had seen this number of police and sirens was when the primary school was attacked by a gunman and 16 children died.

"It's eerie. The protesters are trying to influence the leaders in Gleneagles but they're really just making life difficult for people going about their daily life," she said.

"That's when you start to lose sympathy with their cause."

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