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Agence France Presse

Thousand Hurt in Anti-G8 Protest, Police Arrest 128 People


German police said on Sunday that 128 people were arrested after a demonstration by anti-G8 protesters in Rostock the previous day which left up to 1,000 people injured.0603 04The organizers of the protest in northern Germany, which came four days before the start of the G8 summit in nearby Heiligendamm, have claimed that at least 165 people were arrested.

Prosecutors in Rostock said they would bring charges of assault and disturbing the peace against 10 of those who were detained when protesters hurling Molotov cocktails, stones and bottles clashed with police.

The demonstrators also overturned and set fire to several cars.

The organizers said 20 protesters had been seriously hurt in the melee, while another 500 suffered light injuries. The number of injured protesters was not officially confirmed.

"Some of them were arrested in such a brutal manner that they had to be hospitalized," said Wilke Studzinsky, a lawyer representing the arrested marchers.

The police said 433 officers were injured in the clashes, 30 of them seriously -- which it defined as having fractures or worse injuries.

"We are lucky that there were no police killed," said Konrad Freiburg, the chairman of Germany's police union.

He told Monday's edition of Bild newspaper that "troublemakers, mainly ones coming from Italy and Greece, became astonishingly violent."

The violence Saturday involved only a small percentage of the 20,000 people that took part in the march, according to police figures. Organisers of the march -- a collection of anti-globalisation and anti-poverty groups -- claimed 80,000 people had taken part.

The Rostock march was the biggest event of a week of demonstrations ahead of the meeting of the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States which begins on Wednesday.

German authorities have mounted an extensive security operation for the summit, with up to 16,000 police on duty.

Rostock was calm on Sunday. And the organizers of Saturday's protest called a press conference in which they denounced the violence of the previous day.

Wounding police officers "cannot be justified," Mani Stenner, one of the organizers said.

© 2007 AFP

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