'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, November 19, 2004

Chile Welcomes Bush 

Well, Bush went off to Chile for the APEC summit and received a warm welcome ... giant burning American flags are very warm. More pictures of the protests can be found here, here, and here. Here's the Guardian:

President George Bush flew into a stormy reception last night on his first foreign trip since re-election, as tens of thousands of protesters sought to disrupt a summit of leaders from Asia and the Americas.
Police used tear gas and water cannon as dozens of masked youths broke off from a rally of up to 50,000 people to throw rocks, tear up park benches and hurl molotov cocktails in the Chilean capital, Santiago. Several officers and protesters were injured, with at least 130 arrests.

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested throughout Chile over the past week, and thousands of additional police are on duty in Santiago for the largest security operation since the papal visit in 1987.

Organisers estimated more than 50,000 people marched through the city centre, hours before leaders from the 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group arrived for a weekend of meetings focusing on free trade and security.

The summit brings together some of the most powerful economies in the world, including the US, Japan and China, and gives President Bush the chance to sound out allies and adversaries on prospects for building pressure on North Korea to return to talks on its nuclear ambitions.

Concerns another of Mr Bush's "axis of evil" countries - Iran - will provide a talking point with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, particularly with a crucial meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna this week. Stalled global trade talks and international terrorism are other subjects likely to be broached.

The protests were organized by the Chilean Social Forum.

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