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Demonstrators assail capitalists

POLICE were out in force for the G20 summit yesterday, swarming the east London riverside site as small groups of demonstrators protested world poverty and climate change.

A French daredevil scaled a London insurance building to unfurl a banner, delighting people on the ground.

At the ExCel center in the Docklands area, where leaders of the Group of 20 financial powers held talks on the global economy, police manned barriers and checkpoints around the security perimeter, turning away anyone without accreditation within an 800-meter radius. Police boats patrolled the Thames.

Outside the summit venue, dozens demonstrated with signs that read "Stop Ethiopia from Starving." Other protesters sat and played a giant Monopoly game near the London Stock Exchange.

"The question is of course who has got the monopoly? It is fairly obvious the G20 are the global financial elite," said Clare Smith, 27, one of the protesters.

"Meanwhile the poor are getting poorer and that has even started to show in this country, but has obviously been going on across the world for some time," she said.

Stop the War coalition supporters also gathered outside the Docklands venue.

"I'm here because part of the world's economic troubles can be helped if, instead of spending billions on weapons, we used it to help the poor," said Hazel Barkham, a hospital chaplain.

About 100 people demonstrated yesterday in the financial district, where French daredevil Alain Robert scaled Lloyds of London's high-rise headquarters as office workers gathered below to snap photos. Robert, dubbed the French spider-man, has scaled dozens of tall structures around the world without ropes or harnesses as part of a campaign to draw attention to global warming. He unfurled another climate change banner in his climb yesterday, before later being led away by police.

About 100 more people demonstrated near London Bridge.

Police said there had been at least 100 arrests so far.

A day earlier, some 4,000 anarchists, anti-capitalists, environmentalists and others had streamed into central London near the Bank of England for largely peaceful protests.

Still, some protesters broke into the Royal Bank of Scotland building and vandalized the Bank of England building.


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