Protestors detained after violence near G8 summit

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Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Protesters clash with police in Edinburgh
In Edinburgh, large police forces cordon off protests

Eight police officers have been injured and more than 32 people detained after protestors made an attempt to block the M9 road and railway lines.

The violence occurred when residents of a camp site near Stirling in central Scotland began a mass movement towards the Gleneagles summit. A branch of Burger King in the Springkerse area of Stirling was also vandalised.

World leaders from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia are meeting in the 5 star Gleneagles hotel and golf course to discuss world issues. The presidents and prime ministers will debate, among other things, debt relief to Africa and climate change.

More than 100 activists dressed in black, many hiding their faces with clothing, "streamed" from the temporary campsite early Wednesday morning, where close to 5,000 protestors are said to be staying.

A camera man for the Associated Press Television said he saw a "group of around 100 smashing the windows of stationary cars and throwing stones at police."

Bob Geldof, organiser of the Live 8 concerts and original Live Aid in 1985, has described the violent protestors as "idiots". Many have criticised Geldof's overexposure in the news, especially as apparent spokesman of the anti-G8 protests.

Previous summits

Previous G8 summits that resulted in violent protests were situated in Genoa, Italy in 2001, and Evian, France in 2003. Police responsible for Wednesday's summit have taken no chances: roughly 10,000 police are on standby in Gleneagles, among watchtowers and surveillance cameras. A five-mile (8 kilometres) long fence of steel surrounds the hotel, complimented by no-fly zone above.

Earlier this week protesters clashed with riot police in Edinburgh, the capital. As many as 100 appeared in court on Tuesday, as a result of police officials' promise of "zero tolerance".

"Make no bones about it, if we encounter people who are prepared to use violence to achieve their aims ... we will take robust action," said Tayside Police Chief Constable John Vine in Auchterarder, the village closest to the Gleneagles hotel and country club.

Protestors and police officers numbering more than 20 were injured in over 6 hours of rioting in the Princes Street shopping area of Edinburgh, bringing the city centre to a standstill. Running clashes, baton charges, and mounted surges were some of the methods used by riot police at the scene.

Agenda

British Prime Minister Tony Blair will, as the host, set the agenda of this years' summit. He is said to want "breakthroughs in global warming as well as Africa".

Blair's Commission for Africa has proposed to double aid to Africa by 2010, as well as a second US$25 billion increase in aid to Africa, and US$75 billion annual increase in worldwide aid.

Sources

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