Chilean riot police fired water and tear gas at masked, stone-throwing anti-capitalist protesters Friday as leaders flew in for a major Asia-Pacific summit overshadowed by the "war on terror."
The mayhem provided a violent backdrop to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/politics/2002/07/15/32461.html ' target=_blank>APEC) summit, where President George W. Bush's security agenda and and nuclear proliferation appeared set to eclipse talk of trade and the economy.
As a rally of tens of thousands of people culminated with a concert in a central Santiago park, masked protesters wrecked telephone cabins, smashed lamps and lobbed stones at police and through the windows of a closed McDonalds restaurant, wrote the Turkish Press.
Crowds threw stones in the capital just hours before &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/368/14539_president.html ' target=_blank>US President George W Bush was due to arrive for the summit. More than 20 people were arrested on the fourth day of confrontations between police and protesters.
Mr Bush and Russian leader &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/353/12157_Putin.html' target=_blank>Vladimir Putin are to attend the summit, where talks will focus on security and trade.
Thousands of police have been deployed throughout Santiago to break up unofficial protests ahead of the summit. "This gathering is not authorised. Go away," a loudspeaker mounted on a police water cannon told protesters on Friday, reports the BBC News.
Police estimated the number of marchers at 25,000, but protest leaders said the real number was 70,000.
"The turnout is much bigger than we'd expected. This is a polite response to Bush's barbarity," said Ernesto Medina, a march organizer.