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Rome: EU Summit Protests Begin

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  • ummyakoub
    Protesters, police clash as EU summit begins: Rome venue turned into no-go zone ROME, Oct 4: Italian riot police fired teargas and wielded batons on Saturday
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2003
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      Protesters, police clash as EU summit begins: Rome venue turned into
      no-go zone

      ROME, Oct 4: Italian riot police fired teargas and wielded batons on
      Saturday to break up a protest by anti-globalization demonstrators
      outside a summit in Rome , at which European leaders were mulling a
      new constitution.

      As helicopters buzzed overhead, hundreds of officers fought a running
      battle with protestors along a broad avenue within 300 metres of the
      summit venue on the outskirts of Rome.

      At least one person was injured and 24 arrested as demonstrators
      smashed shop windows, even before the main rally began outside the
      high-security venue in Rome's fascist-era EUR district

      Organizers claimed over 300,000 demonstrators participated in two
      separate rallies, including 250,000 in Rome and at least 70,000 near
      the summit venue, but police said the Rome march only attracted
      15,000 people.

      As darkness approached some protesters, wearing hoods and masks and
      armed with sticks, forced a line of police to crouch under a hail of
      stones and missiles. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

      Some 10,000 riot-ready police officers were on the streets of Rome
      enforcing a no-go zone around the venue. Fighter jets roared
      overhead, accompanied by AWACS surveillance aircraft and helicopters.

      European trade unions, using slogans including "Liberal Europe too
      concerned about businessmen", and the anti-globalization movement had
      called a joint demonstration demanding "another Europe".

      They want the EU to do more to address average citizens' concerns as
      the 15-member bloc expands to include 10 new mainly ex-communist
      countries in May next year.

      "We will never build a stronger Europe on a weaker social pillar. It
      must attract popular enthusiasm and be firmly rooted in popular
      politics," the secretary general of the European Trade Union
      Confederation, John Monks, said.

      "We want to send a message to Europe's political leaders that they
      will weaken the social dimension of Europe at their and Europe's
      peril," he added.

      At one point group of about 50 anti-globalization protesters attacked
      the offices of a temporary work agency before being chased away by
      police, and an ambulance was seen moving in to take away an injured
      demonstrator.

      In one clash with police three demonstrators were injured. A group of
      hooded demonstrators also attacked a bank near the summit conference
      centre, damaging the building's reinforced glass windows.

      Protesters, most of them Italians, arrived on specially-booked trains
      in the morning and had an initial non-violent standoff with
      authorities guarding the seat of the Italian government, the Palazzo
      Chigi.

      Authorities were bracing

      for the type of violent demonstrations that rocked a summit of the
      Group of Eight industrialized nations in July 2001 in the northern
      Italian city of Genoa in which one young protester was shot to death
      by police.

      The clashes and vandalism came two days after a letter bomb ripped
      through the Italian labour ministry in central Rome. The explosive
      caused no injuries but rattled nerves on the eve of a meeting of EU
      defence ministers and the ensuing summit.

      No one has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, but Italian
      Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu accused far-left militants from the
      Red Brigades group of being behind it.

      Two labour ministry officials, Massimo D'Antona and Marco Biagi, were
      gunned down in 1999 and last year by the Red Brigades.-AFP

      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=top18.htm&date=20031005

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