Related News

Home » World

Anti-NATO protests turn ugly

BLACK-CLAD protesters yesterday attacked police and set ablaze a customs station on a bridge linking France and Germany that hours earlier served as the backdrop for a show of unity by NATO leaders.

Other protesters stormed a nearby Ibis hotel, setting fires and stealing alcohol.

Stacks of old tires were also set ablaze, unleashing thick plumes of black smoke. Near the bonfire was a sign welcoming visitors to Strasbourg.

US First Lady Michelle Obama and other spouses canceled a visit to a cancer hospital out of concern for security, the French president's office said. About 1,000 protesters were staked out near the hospital.

Some protesters say they want an end to war and call NATO a tool of Western imperialism. Others simply appear bent on causing chaos.

Yesterday's protest began calmly but began turning violent about noon. Police in body armor and helmets hoisted shields as several hundred protesters pelted them with rocks, sticks and then Molotov cocktails.

About 100 officers responded by lobbing flash bombs and volleys of tear gas into the crowds of demonstrators, many dressed in black and wearing masks or balaclavas.

Members of the violence-prone "black bloc" - named for their black clothes and hoods - then headed toward the Europa Bridge and set fire to the customs station on the French side and sprayed graffiti on the walls of buildings.

NATO leaders walked across the bridge separating Germany and France before the 60th anniversary summit began.

Across the Rhine River in Kehl, Germany, an estimated 5,000 demonstrators gathered peacefully and hoped to cross into Strasbourg but were diverted by scores of police, backed by at least five trucks with water cannons.

"No nations, no border. Fight law and order," they chanted in unison as police clad in riot gear looked on.

Protesters have been frustrated by large police presence in both cities. About 15,000 German police and 9,000 French police are on call for the summit.

Earlier yesterday about 1,800 protesters left their camp south of Strasbourg at about 4am and headed north through deserted streets to the summit site before being turned back.

Elsewhere, a separate group of 200 French and German protesters - including dozens dressed as clowns and a team of dancing percussionists - occupied a central intersection in downtown Strasbourg after police launched flash bombs and tear gas at them.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend