Police Tear Gas Unruly Protesters in Quebec City Outside Summit of Americas

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:09 PM EDT


(CNSNews.com) - About a thousand protesters from anarchist and Marxist groups tore down a section of a chain link fence outside Quebec City's Summit of the Americas in Canada Friday where President George W. Bush arrived for a three-day summit with leaders from 33 other nations to talk about free trade.

Police in riot gear formed a human chain where the fence once stood and released tear gas on the protesters who threw cans, bottles and rocks at police.

The wind blew the tear gas back into the direction of police, making it easier for protesters, who were simply throwing the tear gas canisters back at police.

Authorities had hoped to prevent a repeat of demonstrations that shut down a 1999 international trade conference in Seattle.

This marks Bush's second foreign trip of his presidency. He met with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretian after arriving in Canada with First Lady Laura Bush.

Before leaving for the summit, Bush said he wanted closer ties with the other nations in this hemisphere, except for Cuba.

"Our goal in Quebec is to build a hemisphere of liberty," Bush told reporters at the White House. "We must approach this goal in a spirit of civility, mutual respect and appreciation for our shared values."

The goal of the summit, as set back in 1994, is to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas by the end of 2005. The free trade zone would stretch from Canada to Chile. It would include 800 million people and have an economic output of $11 trillion.

Bush promised to renew his efforts to regain trade promotion authority, once known as "fast track," which would give the president the power to negotiate trade deals with the promise that they will not be amended by the legislature.

The trade promotion authority lapsed in 1994 during the Clinton administration. The former president dropped the ball on trying to convince Congress on the issue, partly because Democrats wanted to link trade deals to environmental and labor standards, an idea that is rejected by many Republicans.

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