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French police detain 300 after anti-NATO protests

world Updated: Apr 03, 2009 19:25 IST

PTI
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French police detained at least 300 demonstrators after riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets to quell violent clashes ahead of a two-day summit marking NATO’s 60th anniversary.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have descended on the eastern French city of Strasbourg and two southwestern German towns to protest the cross-border NATO summit.

Twenty-eight world leaders are attending the two-day summit, including President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In a bid to prevent violence, France has temporarily reinstated border controls with its immediate neighbours for the meeting.

A total of 107 people were still being held today morning, after riot police forced hundreds of demonstrators off the streets of Strasbourg yesterday late night and back into a tent camp on the edge of the city.

They can be held up to 48 hours before being formally charged. Demonstrators destroyed telephone booths and attempted to build barricades before they were stopped, said a police spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity according to French practice.

Strasbourg was calm this morning, but the streets were virtually deserted as unauthorized traffic was forbidden in many parts of the city. Schools and the university were closed. Most businesses and restaurants have shut down for the duration of the summit.