Hundreds Arrested at APEC Summit in Chile
SANTIAGO, Nov. 17 (Xinhuanet) --
Some 500 protesters, most of them from university and middle school, marched along the main Alameda street in downtown Santiago,chanting slogans against globalization and President Bush.
The police used tear gas to disperse the mass, and clashed with the demonstrators after they blocked main streets. Some 120 protestors were detained in the clash and some nearby shops were forced to close due to the chaos.
The police said they took action to stop the demonstration because it was not authorized by the government, but did not say whether some people were injured during their operation.
Chile's government spokesman Francisco Vidal warned after the arrest that any demonstration must get permission from the government and the police have the obligation to take tough measures against unauthorized demonstrations.
The Chilean government announced Monday to give green light to a peaceful demonstration against globalization and Bush in downtown Santiago on Friday, organized by a society forum made up of more than 100 non-governmental organizations.
Organizers have claimed they would take all measures to guarantee a peaceful demonstration, which they say is an outlet for Chilean citizens to voice their opposition to Bush and globalization, a main topic of the ongoing APEC meetings.
The approval came amid unprecedentedly tight security in the capital, as leaders of the 21 APEC members will arrive for this year's APEC Economic Leaders Meeting slated for Saturday and Sunday.
Local press said more than 5,000 police and troops, either from the capital or other regions, will be deployed to provide securityfor the week-long APEC meetings, which include the senior officials meeting, the ministerial meeting and the economic leaders meeting.
Massive police presence was seen around meeting venues and along main streets in Santiago. Helicopters were also seen hovering overhead.
Officials said tougher security measures, such as traffic control and roadblock checks, would be taken during the leaders' meeting. On Friday, when the top leaders start to arrive, local residents will have a special holiday.
It is the largest security operation in Chile since Pope John Paul II visited the Latin American country in 1987.