Colombian police fire tear gas on anti-war protesters who burn tires, U.S. flag
Thu Mar 27, 3:20 PM ET
By CESAR GARCIA, Associated Press Writer
BOGOTA, Colombia - Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd of more than 1,500 demonstrators Thursday who tried to march on the U.S. Embassy in Colombia to protest the war in Iraq (news - web sites). No serious injuries were reported.
Bloodied demonstrators were seen being carried away during the melee near the gates of the fortress-like embassy compound in Bogota. Protesters included pupils dressed in blue school uniforms, but most were university students. Some demonstrators hurled rocks and firecrackers at the riot police.
Police arrested at least three demonstrators. Some journalists were caught up in the scuffles. Luis Acosta, a photographer for Agence France-Presse, was shot in the leg by a rubber bullet, but was not seriously hurt.
The protesters carried placards condemning the U.S. war against Iraq and the Colombian government's decision to support the action.
"Yankees, get out of Colombia and all the countries of the world," one of the placards said. Another said: "We are all Palestinians, we are all Iraqis. Gringos, get out of here."
The demonstrators marched from the National University in Bogota to within 150 meters (yards) of the embassy. There, they burned tires, an effigy of U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites) and a facsimile of the U.S. flag before the police dispersed them.
The United States has given Colombia more than US billion in mostly military aid in the past three years. Colombia is one of a few dozen countries that has openly supported the United States' decision to invade Iraq.