Police detain four protesters during anti-globalization rally
Sapporo, Japan (AP): More than a thousand people marched in northern Japan on Saturday to protest an upcoming summit of top industrialized countries, and police briefly clashed with marchers, detaining four people. No injuries were reported.
Protesters gathered at a park in central Sapporo to demand that the Group of Eight nations take urgent measures to stop global warming, grant indigenous people greater rights, and combat world poverty and discrimination.
Demonstrators also criticized globalization, which they blamed for deepening poverty in marginalized regions, fueling the world's dependence on fossil fuels and accelerating rising temperatures.
``Who gave the Group of Eight the right to rule the world?'' asked Walden Bello of the Focus on the Global South activist group. ``The G-8 is a conspiracy of governments that have led the world to its most severe crisis in the last 50 years.''
The rally then moved to the streets of Sapporo. Thousands of riot police lined the route, squeezing marchers into one lane. Tempers flared occasionally at bottlenecks, but the protest was mostly peaceful.
A brief scuffle broke out when police smashed the window of a protester's pickup truck because the driver had blocked the route and refused to talk to officers. Four people were detained, but authorities refused to release their names or nationalities.
The G-8 leaders _ from the United States, Japan, Russia, France, Britain, Canada, Italy and Germany _ begin a three-day summit on Monday. The top issues are expected to be global warming and soaring oil and food prices.