Protesters block roads near G8 summit

Around 1,500 anti-globalisation protesters have clashed with French police as they tried to block roads leading to the resort town of Evian, where leaders of the world’s most powerful economies are meeting.

    Demonstrators in the Swiss city of
    Lausanne, another focal point for
    today's anti-G8 protests

    The demonstrators carried anti-war banners and beat drums on Sunday as they attempted to prevent delegations taking part in the Group of Eight (G8) summit from reaching Evian.

     

    Their efforts seemed directed at trying to block a road near the town of Thonon, a route used by some delegations heading to the summit held near the border with Switzerland. Police fired tear gas to stop them.

     

    The protesters are among tens of thousands who have set off on separate marches from the French town of Annemasse and the Swiss capital of Geneva.

     

    They are protesting against the policies of the world’s richest countries with banners reading: “End the occupation of Iraq - Free Palestine”.

     

    The tight security around Evian compelled protesters to focus their activities on Geneva and Annemasse. French and Swiss police also mobilised to prevent the disruption of the summit.

     

    “I’m here to defend moral values – sharing, equality, peace in the world”, said Katia, from Geneva, as she marched behind banners that read, “No G8, No Social Cuts, No Capitalism”.

     

    A huge protest which started at the downtown English Garden Park on Lake Geneva was headed by a long white banner saying, "G8, Illegitimate."

     

    It wound through Rue de Rhone shopping street under heavy police guard.

     

    Marchers then headed east towards the border with France about 10 kilometres away where they planned to meet with other protesters from Annemasse before dispersing.

     

    Many banks, shops and businesses in Geneva’s downtown have been closed down since Thursday, fearing rioting.

     

    “I support the demonstrations but not these stupid acts of violence” said Nelida Nortik, whose clothes shop was hit by a petrol bomb near one of three bridges in the city centre that was blocked by protesters.

     

    Other acts of violence targeted a BP petrol station in Geneva when about 50 black-clad hooded youths smashed its windows and destroyed the petrol pumps.


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