G8 Violence

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As Tony Blair and Angela Merkel called for action against climate change
attacking the White House’s position, Germany was trying to recover from the worst G8 summit violence for six years. Thousands of masked anti-globalisation protesters yesterday went on the rampage in the port city of Rostock pelting police with firebombs and stones and torching cars in clashes that injured over 900 people.

Police said that 433 officers were injured, 33 of them seriously, in what they described as “unprecedented violence” that erupted after a peaceful anti-globalisation demonstration in Rostock on Saturday four days before the summit of G8 leaders in nearby Baltic resort of Heiligendamm.

Protest organisers said at least 520 demonstrators had been injured in the clashes that began late in the afternoon after one masked youth jumped on to a stage at a closing rally and told the crowd ” We have to bring war into this demonstration – we’ll achieve nothing through peaceful means.” Running battles between some 2,000 black clad protesters wearing ski-balaclavas to conceal their identities and 5,000 baton-wielding riot police using tear gas and water cannon ensued. At least three cars were set on fire. Police were pelted with Molotov cocktails and cobblestones ripped up from the streets and ferried to a ” front line” in stolen supermarket trolleys.

Tony Blair condemned the violence and pressed on with his points. The Prime Minister told leaders today attending the G8 in Germany that time was slipping away for a deal on climate change, warning: “Now is the time to act.”

Blair said he remained “hopeful of progress” at the G8 but senior British sources fear the call by President Bush to hold a separate conference in 2008 will leave the world on hold until then.

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