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16/11/01 . David Ljunggren . Reuters . Ottawa, Canada
Ottawa Protestors Smash Windows of McDonald's
Anti-capitalism demonstrators, marching under banners that said "Smash the state", taunted police and attacked a McDonald's restaurant in the Canadian capital Ottawa on Friday.
As the crowd of around 350 demonstrators protesting against international financial meetings in Ottawa walked down a central thoroughfare, about a dozen youths wearing black balaclavas and helmets used sticks and rocks to smash the windows of the restaurant, which was closed.
Police said they arrested four demonstrators for vandalism in connection with McDonald's and for writing graffiti on a number of buildings. One local television journalist was injured in a melee.
It was the first real show of violence from the protesters, who walked slowly through the city's streets for several hours to demonstrate their opposition to the top-level meetings and promised a bigger show of force on Saturday.
The crowd repeatedly swore at riot police -- who were out in force -- and chanted "We're not violent, what about you?''
As night fell a special police squad snatched one protester from the crowd -- targeted specially for alleged vandalism -- and fired a distraction device, including a small amount of tear gas, to quell resistance while the arrest was made.
A meeting of the Group of 20 rich and poor nations takes place on Saturday morning, followed by postponed gatherings of the policy-making committees of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
"IMF -- shut it down!'', "World Bank -- shut it down!'', "G20 -- shut it down!'' chanted the demonstrators, some of whom blew whistles and carried banners attacking the policies of the international lenders.
A few protesters also knocked down newspaper boxes and some unmanned police barriers near the conference site.
The protesters, walking behind a black anarchist banner proclaiming "Smash the state, end the hate'', sprayed slogans on streets and the walls of buildings.
"What better place than here, what better place than now?'' read a black scrawl on the gray granite wall of the Bank of Canada. Someone else had spray-painted a dollar sign in a red circle with a line through it, like a no-smoking sign.
Before the protesters set off they were addressed by leading Canadian anti-capitalist protester Jaggi Singh, who said that, in the wake of the Sept. 11 suicide attacks, it was more important than ever to speak out against what he called the "terrorism'' of the World Bank and IMF.
"We oppose a view of the world that looks like Disney, tastes like Coke and smells like (expletive),'' he said to loud cheers.
Police spokesman Leo Janveau said five people suffered minor injuries. He was unable to say who they were except
that none were from the security forces.