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Germany

As World Leaders Arrive for G8 Summit, 'Sit-Downs' Planned

As world leaders arrive for the G8 summit, anti-G8 campaigners are planning more demonstrations, including sit-down blockades. US President Bush met protests when his plane touched down Tuesday.

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Police in Rostock are not finding these clowns a laughing matter

Protesters, who lost a last-ditch bid Tuesday for court permission to march close to this week's G8 summit, prepared in Germany to mount sit-down protest to block roads when the three-day event begins Wednesday.

Attac, a European group that believes globalization is dangerous and is leading the protests, said Tuesday it was not organizing sit-downs and did not belong to Block G8, a group overseeing a planned "blockade," but knew many Attac members would be taking part.

It said taking part in a sit-down was a misdemeanor, not a felony, and insisted German police only use "proportionate" force to clear sit-downs and avoid injuring anyone while doing so.

Road-block organizers promised Tuesday they would ask peaceful demonstrators to abandon any blockade if the Black Block, an informal network of violence-prone militants who don black clothing and masks and congregate in the marches, took over and the incident turned into a violent confrontation.

Caustic clowns

Police had been taken by surprise by anti-G8 rioting Saturday that left nearly 1,000 people injured. Officers claim they were facing a form of chemical warfare, with protesters dressed as clowns squirting them with a fluid that attacks the skin.

Deutschland G8 Großdemonstration in Rostock Polizei und Steine

Eight offers were injured by chemical attacks

Eight police had needed hospital treatment, a spokesman said in Rostock, a city 15 miles north-east of the Heiligendamm beachside summit venue where small-scale protests were continuing and 11 persons were detained Tuesday.

At the first trial to deal with Saturday's rioters, a man aged 31 was sent to jail for 10 months for throwing stones at several police officers. Eight more persons, many of them non-German, were to come up for trial on Wednesday.

The police said a packet of white powder labeled "anthrax" found Monday near the Heiligendamm fence had only contained flour.

Protesters Lose in Court

In the southern city of Karlsruhe, Germany's constitutional court confirmed the legal restrictions junior judges had placed on the demonstrations.

At the Kempinski Grand Hotel in Heiligendamm, only 15 representative protesters were allowed to hold a vigil starting Tuesday, while demonstrators would also face a quota of 50 at a gate of Rostock airport where the eight delegations were to land.

Deutschland G8 Großdemonstration in Rostock Vermummte

Protesters complain their rights are being denied

A mass demonstration at the airport must take place hundreds of meters away. Administrative tribunals had earlier modified the various restrictions put in place by the police.

An appeal against a requirement that a mass protest on Thursday remain on a highway which comes no closer than four miles to the summit hotel will be decided Wednesday, a court spokeswoman said.

More Protests Planned

Germany has deployed 16,000 police to protect the leaders of seven Western nations and Russia at the G8 summit as well as 10 other national leaders who are to join them on Friday.

The police are preparing to deal with both violent attacks by the Black Block and non-violent tactics from peaceful protesters.

Deutschland G8 Großdemonstration in Rostock Polizei und Demonstranten Steinewerfer

The Black Block is planning more protests

Police spokesman Axel Falkenberg rejected calls for German riot police to be armed with guns which shoot rubber bullets, which have never been used in Germany. Officials said there were no such guns in the government's armory.

Germany's main weapon against riots is a fleet of trucks which shoot jets of cold water up to 50 meters.

Bush Lands in Rostock

US President George W. Bush was heckled by protesters as he arrived in Rostock Wednesday to attend the summit.

George W. Bush und seine Frau werden in Rostock empfangen

Officials, and protestors, were on hand to meet Bush in Rostock

He touched down just after 17:00 GMT from Prague, where he accused Russia of derailing democratic reforms, in a speech likely to further strain ties with Moscow on the eve of the gathering.

Up to 1,000 anti-globalization activists waited for the helicopter behind a fence guarded by rows of police officers.

"Our democratic rights stop here," one demonstrator scrawled in chalk next to the chain-link barrier which was used to pen in the protesters.

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