The Obama show rolled into Brisbane this morning, with a spectacle that would’ve otherwise brought the now mostly-empty city to a standstill.
The crowds turned out to see what they could of the United States President who would later deliver a speech to a select audience at the University of Queensland, before official G20 events later in the day.
Joseph Cooney reports.
It was the most anticipated arrival of Brisbane’s G20 summit.
Air Force One touching down at Amberley’s RAAF base just before 6AM.
The charismatic leader gave a presidential wave, before being greeted by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, Premier Campbell Newman and Attorney-General George Brandis.
From there, he was transferred to Marine One of two identical presidential helicopters on hand, complete with two V-22 Ospreys.
There was speculation just where Obama’s conspicuous aerial entourage would land, with practice runs conducted at a number of locations in past days.
At show time, they touched down at Victoria Park around 6.20, just as rehearsed.
The President was then ushered into his imposing bullet-proof vehicle, the Beast, again, one of two on hand in a 40 car motorcade.
Mr Obama had the city in an unprecedented lockdown along the secretive route to his temporary home at the Marriott Hotel.
Crowds gathered outside were hopeful for a glimpse.
VOX 1: “We’re in a pretty good angle here. If he goes that way or that way, we should get a good spot.”
VOX 2: “If he’s being really nice, he might come out and have a wave to all the spectators here.”
Most weren’t let down, as the President seated in the second of the Beasts offered a wave to the crowd.
At least, it appeared to be him, there’s speculation of an official Obama body-double travelling with the legitimate one.
Fellow leaders were hoping for the real deal, the President then visited Parliament House for a G20 leaders retreat and barbecue lunch.
There was a heavy police presence outside, roads were barricaded and snipers were in position on rooftops.
Even with other leaders inside, there was a clear feeling the display was all for one man.
As the Obama show rolls on, there’s no let-up of the spectacle that follows his every move.
Crowds of people are camped on all corners of the intersection as his vast motorcade snakes its way through and onto his next stop.
It’s all part of the performance, along the secretive route to the next stop, more snipers, more motorists met with barricades.
And an eagerly-awaiting audience at the University of Queensland where he’ll deliver his highly anticipated Brisbane speech.
Joseph Cooney, QUT News.