The movement started slowly Friday morning, with just two representatives of the Larouche Political Action Committee standing in the town square, advocating that President Barack Obama be removed from office.
By noon, the ranks were growing, as members of Occupy movements had gathered in the Weis Markets parking lot to make signs and plan the rest of their day.
Through it all, local, state and federal police were a constant presence through their patrols, working closely and cordially with Occupy groups, but watching out for more antagonistic protesters who have created havoc at past G-8 summits.
Law-enforcement’s mission is to protect the property and safety of Thurmont and its residents, while also protecting the First Amendment rights of the protesters, “as long as they do it legally and lawfully,” said Cpl. Jason L. West, the public information officer for the Frederick County G-8 Information Center.
Since March, when the White House announced the G-8 Summit would move from Chicago to Camp David, near Thurmont, no one has been sure what to expect.
Past meetings of the G-8 — the eight leading industrialized nations, including the United States — have been met with confrontational protests, resulting in arrests.
That was less certain for Thurmont because many G-8 protesters were expected to stay in Chicago for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit to be held Sunday and Monday.
Thurmont welcomed the world by hanging flags from each G-8 nation in the town’s square.
Fighting off gnats, Diana Stull and her father, Jim Stull, placed about 30 small American flags and poles along the entrance ramp to U.S. 15.
“We just decided to do this to dress up the community a bit,” said Diana Stull, whose property is next to the ramp.
She said her family used to watch from the porch as world leaders’ vehicles drove by. The tipoff was when a police car would stop traffic on Md. 77 to let the motorcade proceed, she said.
For a while Friday morning, Ben Deniston and Asuka Saito of the Larouche PAC were the only protesters in the square.
Deniston said the PAC believes Obama should be impeached or otherwise forced out of office for “constitutional violations,” including warfare in Libya without Congress’ consent and targeting U.S. citizens to be killed by drone strikes, even if they are terrorists.
At about 10:45 a.m., several Occupy protesters from Connecticut approached the square and were met by a cluster of journalists eager for a protest angle to report on.
One man with the group questioned reporters first, saying he won’t do interviews with mainstream media who have ignored the Occupy movement.
Martin Scire of Frederick, Md., held a sign reading: “How can we allow the decisions of 8 capitalist leaders control the fate of 7,000,000,000 people???”
He also held an American flag with 30 corporate logos in place of the 50 stars.
He said he’d like to see people band together in their communities and apply pressure on their leaders from the ground up.