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Salzburg summit hit by protests

by BBC Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2001 at 10:06 AM

Clashes broke out when police tried to halt a march

Salzburg summit hit ...
bbc.jpg, image/jpeg, 315x180

Sunday, 1 July, 2001, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK

Salzburg summit hit by protests



Violent clashes have erupted between anti-globalisation protesters and police on the streets of the Austrian city of Salzburg, which is hosting a European economic summit.

After a tense stand-off, police baton-charged a large crowd of demonstrators who had earlier attempted to march from the railway station to the closed-off city centre.

Police said they made four arrests. At least one policeman was injured and carried away by colleagues.



The summit, organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF), is being attended by heads of state and government from some 15 countries, as well as government ministers and hundreds of business leaders.

Expecting trouble following the violence that marred last month's European Union summit in Sweden, Austria imposed emergency border controls and drafted in 5,000 police reinforcements.

"Police charged and made a big push and the response from the demonstrators was to use flagpoles to start beating on police shields," said one correspondent.

There were about 700 demonstrators according to police - and over 2,000 according to organisers.

Anti-globalisation activists have made the Geneva-based WEF one of their top targets.

Expansion appeal

Some 660 top business and political leaders, including some 15 heads of state and government and 40 cabinet ministers are expected to attend the meeting, which runs until Tuesday.



On the summit's first day the European Commissioner responsible for enlargement, Guenther Verheugen, appealed to member states to do more to convince their citizens of the social and economic benefits of EU expansion.

Mr Verheugen said the Irish no vote to the Nice Treaty on enlargement had shown that better communication with the people was crucial to the success of such an historic project.

For the first time, this year's gathering has been billed as an all-European summit. But it retains the emphasis on central and eastern Europe of previous years, with the majority of officials coming from the region.

With Macedonia's President Boris Trajkovski, Yugoslavia's Vojislav Kostunica and Nato chief George Robertson due to attend, the continuing conflict in the Balkans will be high on the summit's agenda.

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