Sun, Nov 21, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Santiago protesters rail against APEC, Bush

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN SANTIAGO, CHILE

Crowds of dancing and singing demonstrators protest Friday against the ongoing APEC meeting and US President George W. Bush, whose international trade policies and focus on global terrorism have angered demonstrators.

PHOTO: YEH CHIH-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Protests against the APEC summit and weekend visit of US President George W. Bush continued in Santiago Friday as stone-throwing students clashed with the police, while a separate authorized demonstration ended peacefully.

The protests were directed at Bush, whose international trade policies and focus on global terrorism have angered demonstrators.

Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi arrived in Santiago Friday, which was declared a public holiday.

Bush will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in one-on-one meetings. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is set to meet Hu for the first time in more than a year.

Police used water cannons and tear gas on unauthorized protesters after they had responded by throwing stones and shouting slogans, including "No to APEC, No to Bush, No to capitalism."

More than 20 people were arrested on the fourth day of confrontations between police and protesters. Thousands of police have been deployed throughout Santiago to break up unofficial protests.

There is tight security ahead of the summit, with about 4,000 police deployed in Santiago, a city of about 5.5 million.

The students said they opposed, among other things, the war in Iraq and neoliberal capitalist policies.

Meanwhile a government-authorized march through the streets of Santiago ended peacefully, as an estimated 20,000 people took to the streets to protest.

Shouting "No APEC, no Bush," the loosely organized protesters, composed of different social groups, began a march from the Almagro Park near the Presidential Office to protest against a hodgepodge of issues, including globalization, capitalism, domestic violence and the US government.

Each group presented different props in an effort to get their messages across.

Some held black banners reading "APEC sucks," some held a large-size globe painted blue that read "Earth not for sale." One of the placards bore a photo of Bush's head stuck in the toilet and a giant Statue of Liberty made into a demon.

Rodrigo Stanger, a musician and artist, said that he was against Bush but supported APEC.

"[Bush] rules the world in a terrorist way. He lives to be a terrorist. I'm so worried about his political decisions," he said.

However, he said that APEC has made Chile a "better and more interesting place."

"It concentrates on the poor. Everybody has food to eat and has money to study. It's great," he said. "We're better off than other Latin American countries, [we're] probably the best."

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