SAVANNAH, Ga. – Protest planners expected a huge turnout for the Group of Eight (search) summit in Sea Island, Ga., this week, but found their estimates for at least 5,000 demonstrators to be overly optimistic.
Forced to stay a safe distance from the actual meetings of leaders from the world's most industrialized nations, protesters were outnumbered by police — as well as the media — in rally after rally in nearby Savannah (search), Brunswick and Saint Simons Island.
At least 20,000 law enforcement officers provided security for the G8 meetings, including National Guard (search) units on virtually every street corner. Even Savannah's Starbucks, a frequent target of anti-globalization protesters, was safe from vandalism this year.
But the expectations of massive demonstrations and the potential for violence were enough to keep visitors away from the historic city at the height of what is usually its tourist season.
"Business has been extremely different. There have just been nonexistent people in Savannah this week," said Marcia Thompson of Mrs. Wilkes' Restaurant.
Ice cream vendors had hoped to cash in selling cool scoops to hot demonstrators, but estimates are that only 50 of the 5,000 expected protesters materialized.
Click here to watch a report by Fox News' Jonathan Serrie.