WASHINGTON - As up tens of thousands of
anti-globalization protesters converged on Genoa for a summit
of major industrialized nations, President Bush on Tuesday
condemned them as ``no friends of the poor.''
``I respect the right to peaceful expression, but make no
mistake -- those who protest free trade are no friends of the
poor. Those who protest free trade seek to deny them their best
hope for escaping poverty,'' Bush said in a speech at the World
Bush's remarks represented an escalation of administration
rhetoric against the protests and a reflection of concern over
the impact of disruptive, sometimes violent street protests
over trade and globalization that have accompanied many recent
gatherings of international leaders.
``It really is becoming a modern fact of summitry and it's
becoming an unfortunate part of summitry that violence is
becoming a standard, not by the protesters but by others whose
cause is not peaceful protest but willful violence. And that
distorts the goals of the summit,'' White House spokesman Ari
Fleischer told reporters after the speech.
Bush leaves on Wednesday for Europe, where he will
participate in the annual G8 summit of major industrial nations
plus Russia in the Italian port of Genoa, from Friday to
Sunday. A major theme of the summit will be global poverty
relief, and U.S. officials have denied that the theme is meant
as a response to the previous protests.
Some 15,000 armed police are bracing for what protest
organizers say could be as many at 200,000 demonstrators in
Bush was speaking on Tuesday at the World Bank to outline
U.S. anti-poverty initiatives for the summit including a
proposal to shift Wold Bank funding for development in the
poorest nations from lending to up to 50 percent grants.
Bush also said he was hoping for broad agreement to launch
a new round of trade talks under the World Trade Organization,
a principal focus of the protests.
Anti-globalization protesters contend a march toward
globalization of business and elimination of trade barriers
exploits workers in developing countries and harms the
The protesters, Bush said, ``seek to shut down meetings
because they want to shut down trade.''
``Legitimate concerns about labor standards, the
environment, (and) economic dislocation should be and will be
addressed. But we must reject a protectionism that blocks the
path of prosperity for developing countries. We must reject
policies that would condemn them to permanent poverty,'' he
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