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Police fire tear gas in Bayonne as G7 protesters clash with police

French riot police fired tear gas on Saturday (August 24) to disperse anti-capitalism protesters in Bayonne, near the resort of Biarritz where President Emmanuel Macron and G7 nation allies were meeting for a three-day summit.

Police had used water cannons to prevent protesters crossing a bridge after demonstrators held an impromptu march in Bayonne only 8.5 km (5 miles) from the G7 venue. Masked protesters threw stones and other objects at the police and kicked back tear gas cannisters. Several people were seen to be detained.

Earlier, thousands of anti-globalisation activists, Basque seperatists and “yellow vest” protesters marched peacefully across France’s border with Spain to demand action from G7 leaders meeting in the nearby coastal resort of Biarritz.

More than 13,000 police officers are guarding the summit site in Biarritz under fears that anarchist groups might have tried to derail Saturday’s protest, which has been billed as a peaceful family event.

Four police officers were lightly wounded on Friday (August 23) after protesters fired a home-made mortar near the anti-G7 counter-summit in Hendaye. Police arrested 17 people for hiding their faces.

On Sunday (August 25), activists plan “disobedience” actions and the self-described radical environmentalist group “Action non-violente COP21” will defy a ban on demonstrations in Bayonne, 8 km (5 miles) east of Biarritz, with a march carrying official portraits of French President Emmanuel Macron which it says have been taken from town halls around the country.

(Production: Erol Dogrudogan, Marina Depetris, Ardee Napolitano, Claire Watson)

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