Anti-G8 Rioters
Rampage In Geneva


(AFP) -- Anti-globalisation rioters rampaged through Geneva overnight, smashing shop windows and hurling firebombs at government buildings as demonstrators geared up for major protests to mark the opening of a G8 summit.
The trouble flared just hours before leaders of the world's most powerful nations were due to arrive across the border in the French Alpine resort of Evian for their three-day annual meeting.
Tens of thousands of anti-globalisation activists are expected to join cross-border protests to air a multitude of grievances against the world's invitation-only rich club.
To counter the threat, some 25,000 police and military personnel have been deployed in Evian and just across the Swiss border in Geneva to try to ensure the high-profile summit passes off peacefully.
Security is so strict in Evian itself that the protestors have been forced to focus their campaign around Geneva and the French town of Annemasse, setting up vast tent camps.
Protestors, some wearing masks, blocked a road and bridge on both sides of the border but riot police used tear gas to stop a group trying to reach Thonon, about 10 kilometers (six miles) from the heavily-fortified summit site.
Protesters carried flags and banners reading "No to War", "The G8 is illegitimate" and "Peace".
In Geneva, two molotov cocktails were hurled at local government offices while protesters threw stones and other missiles at windows and attempted to torch several of the shops.
A police spokesman said firefighters had been attacked as they tried to fight the flames.
Switzerland, which is not a G8 country, is putting on its biggest security operation since World War II amid fears of a repeat of the violence that shook the Genoa G8 meeting two years ago when a demonstrator was shot dead by police.
Brief clashes Saturday, when French riot police used tear gas and batons to push back some 400 noisy protestors, gave an early indication of the scale of potential trouble ahead.
Many shops and businesses in Geneva's chic downtown quarter have boarded up windows. Some are closed to avoid possible anti-capitalist rampages.
Activists have vowed to block bridges to try to prevent official delegations arriving at the city's airport from passing into France to attend the summit.
Others have published advice on the Internet on how to evade the security, including swimming in spread-out lines across Lake Geneva.
Saturday's flare-up at Annemasse came when several hundred police officers pushed back about 400 protestors trying to block access to a meeting attended by a French Socialist Party delegation. No one was arrested.
Shouting slogans against the Socialists, the demonstrators later moved into the town centre where a number of cars were damaged, police said.
An anti-G8 summit in Annemasse, which had been running debates and rallies in recent days, closed Saturday with a concert devoted to the cancellation of Third World debt.
"We contest the idea that the world can be run by a club of powerful people, without legitimacy," said Gus Massiah, president of the French third world campaign group CRID.
"They have been democratically elected to govern their countries, but they have not received a mandate to govern the world."
About 50 "fires of protest" lit up the skies after dark Saturday, and bonfires were lit around the Swiss and French shores of the lake.
Earlier Saturday, about 200 demonstrators tried in vain to approach a hotel in Geneva where heads of state from developing countries were quartered.
"Shame on you!" they cried, pointing toward Evian as Swiss President Pascal Couchepin welcomed the leaders of developing nations invited for an "enlarged dialogue" at the summit.
Some 25 streakers daubed with red anti-G8 slogans also staged a brief but high-visibility protest.
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