Violent clashes between riot police and protestors marked US President George W Bush's arrival in Gothenburg today. Swedish police arrested 243 demonstrators, and five police officers were injured in the protests. Riot police on foot and horseback clashed with about 200 protesters near a school in central Gothenburg, in which a number of protest groups had been staying, at lunchtime. The demonstrators climbed on the roof of the school and erected a red and black flag and attacked the police with cobblestones and bottles.
Many of the protesters were wearing face masks. Police charged at the demonstrators forcing them to retreat to a nearby park where clashes continued. About 12,000 protestors marched through Gothenburg and met in the central square later in the day. There were no reports of serious violence at the rally. Fifteen hundred police officers have been deployed to deal with the demonstrators.
Over 25,000 protestors from environmentalist, socialist, anarchist and human rights organisations are expected in the city to protest on a wide number of issues, including opposition to the death penalty, militarisation, globalisation and the destruction of the environment. Such a gathering would outnumber police by 25 to one. The security operation put in place for the meetings is the most ambitious undertaken by the country since the 1992 European football championships. Many of the protestors are anti-capitalists, whose protests shut down the world trade talks in Seattle at the end of 1999 and have taken place at a number of different internationa trade and political meetings since then.
Today the EU and US, the world's biggest trading partners, said that they will restart the talks in Quatar in November. The United States and European Union have said that they made no progress in bridging differences over the Kyoto agreement on global warming at President Bush's first summit with EU leaders. The meeting took place in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. A joint communiqué issued after the summit, however, said that both sides recognised strong leadership was needed on climate change so a global solution could be found.
Mr Bush has been criticised for his rejection of the Kyoto treaty, which aims to reduce the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. He provoked anger in Europe by describing the Kyoto treaty as "unrealistic and not based on science".
In advance of the meeting, the Swedish Prime Minister, Goran Persson, issued a statement in which he said that a strong Europe was needed in order to counteract United States world domination. It is expected that issues such as trade, the death penalty, which has received much attention since the execution on Monday of Timothy McVeigh, and the environment, will be debated at the summit.
In a separate development, the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, has repeated that the enlargement of the European Union is an irreversible process and that Ireland will have to rethink its rejection of the Nice Treaty. He was speaking in Gothenburg ahead of tomorrow's EU summit, which is also being attended by the Taoiseach. It is the first EU leaders' summit since Ireland's rejection of the Nice Treaty.