MIAMI -- Demonstrators and police clashed Thursday at the Free Trade Area of Americas summit.
Following a union march, protesters -- many believed to be from the anarchist group the Black Bloc -- set protest signs and a Dumpster on fire. Some used sling shots to fire rocks at police. Police responsed with tear gas, pepper spray, smoke bombs and rubber bullets. About three dozen people were arrested.
Demonstrators collected wood signs and pallets from the downtown area to use as barricades as police tried to move them from the Bayfront Park area near the Hotel Inter-Continental, where diplomats met for the first day to discuss eliminating trade barriers throughout the hemisphere. Protesters say the FTAA will cost American jobs, hurt the environment and exploit workers in third world countries. Violence has marred previous trade talks in Seattle, Cancun and elsewhere.
Fat Pheterson, a student from the University of Florida in Gainesville, said police started using pepper spray when some protesters started throwing bottles of glass and plastic at a barricade fence protecting the Hotel Inter-Continental.
Jessica Humphrey, a demonstrator from Miami, said her friend was hit in the forehead by a rubber bullet as they participated peacefully in the union rally at Bayfront Park.
"We were in the park watching the speaker, then hysteria broke out," Humphrey said.
The situation was tense from the outset on Thursday when police squared off with demonstrators at 6:30 a.m. in an unauthorized march at the entrance to the downtown area.
SWAT teams in riot gear detained about 100 of the demonstrators -- many of whom belonged to the Black Bloc -- for about 90 minutes in front of Miami police headquarters after promising them they could proceed.
"Get out the tasers!" ordered one officer as dozens of police, some carrying three-foot wooden bats, surrounded the group.
"Are you crazy? Are you insane?" a protester yelled back at the officer who made the order before other demonstrators pulled him back. Organizers of a number of grassroots groups said they should be able to voice their opposition to the removal of trade barriers without a need for a parade permit, as the city of Miami required.
Despite police on bikes barricading every available route to the morning protest, a number of the anti-FTAA folks made it into downtown in cars and in a rented truck. They waved banners, homemade puppets and chanted anti-globalization slogans in front of the county's government center.
While the Black Bloc and other marchers were detained near police headquarters, the protesters who made it downtown found themselves stopped from proceeding to a barricade fence near the Hotel Inter-Continental . Demonstrators tried to pull down a gated perimeter fence blocking all northeast traffic to the hotel and police shot off two loud bursts of what appeared to be tear gas.
Calling the protest an illegal gathering, a commanding officer on a bullhorn told the crowd to disperse. Some headed north on Biscayne Boulevard to Bayfront Park, where they met union workers preparing for their afternoon rally.
As thousands of union marchers poured into the downtown area, more police arrived, including the Florida Highway Patrol in a tank. By the time of the official union march, protesters ranged from senior citizens to steel and electrical workers to animal activists with foam dolphins on their heads.
"The Miami police is trying to intimidate people not to come out," said Ray DelPapa, 50, a retail clerk from Pembroke Pines. "I don't feel the tension of the protesters, they've all been through this before. I see the tension in the police."
( Source www.palmbeachpost.com
Habituelle rethorique : " Ce n'est pas nous, c'est pas de notre faute, c'est la faute aux violences policieres ! "
J'avais prevu d'aller faire un tour a Miami pour prendre des photos de l'evenement. Mon emploi de temps professionnel un poil charge ne me l'a pas autorise.