Cumbre de APEC - Santiago de Chile

40,000 Protestors at APEC Meeting In Chile
author: AP Repost 29.Nov.2004 14:25

Find the story on yahoo to see some great photos of the protest.

By ALAN CLENDENNING, Associated Press Writer

SANTIAGO, Chile - Riot police used water cannons and tear gas Friday to break up a demonstration by hundreds of rock-throwing protesters before more than 20,000 people marched to vent their anger at Pacific Rim leaders, particularly President Bush.

While some protesters said they oppose the APEC summit, which they likened to a rich man's club that does nothing for the poor, much of the rage was aimed at Bush and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Bush was arriving in Chile on Friday night. At the summit, he will seek more international support to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, administration officials said.

Organizers said 40,000 protesters participated in the government-authorized march downtown, far from the conference center hosting the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Police put the number at 25,000.

Marchers held up posters saying: "Bush, you stink," and "Terrorist Bush." Some chanted: "Bush, listen: Chile is not for sale!" and "Bush, fascist, thief, murderer!"

Some also expressed sympathy with the Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah. One banner read: "Sorry Fallujah! Stupid Americans, Your Turn Will Come."

The earlier street clashes marked the fourth straight day of confrontations between police and activists opposed to the APEC summit. There were no arrests or serious injuries.

Leaders from around the Pacific have flown into Chile in the last few days, and more were expected Friday, including Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (news - web sites) and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Numerous bilateral meetings between leaders were planned during the summit, including a key meeting Sunday between the leaders of Japan and China that will seek to resolve a diplomatic row over a Chinese nuclear submarine's recent intrusion into Japanese waters.

Bush plans seven individual meetings with other leaders during the weekend, including those from China, Japan, South Korea (news - web sites) and Russia - the U.S. partners in talks with North Korea aimed at making the Korean peninsula nuclear-free.

Three rounds of talks have yielded little progress and North Korea refused to attend a fourth round slated for September. The White House hopes to use to the APEC gathering to map strategy for scheduling another meeting early next year, a senior White House official said.

Bush also plans to meet Sunday with Mexican President Vicente Fox (news - web sites), with immigration and cross-border drug trafficking likely to be high on the agenda.

At the APEC conference center Friday, business executives, economists and other experts were gathered for seminars and informal talks about trade and growing business ties between Asia and Latin America.

The protests came a day after trade and foreign ministers from 21 Pacific Rim economies issued a strong show of support for ongoing World Trade Organization (news - web sites) talks. They also agreed on new counterterrorism measures aimed at protecting everything from air travel to shipping and food stocks.

APEC members also pledged to implement new security measures to tighten access to shoulder-fired missiles, preventing the possibility of terrorists acquiring them and downing civilian jetliners. They also scheduled for development a counterterrorism passenger alert system to make flights safer.

APEC's members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.


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