- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

UPDATED:

Protests in London at the start of the G-20 economic summit became disorderly Wednesday as large groups smashed windows, entered the Royal Bank of Scotland building and wrestled with police at barricades.

The thousands who gathered in the city’s financial district are protesting capitalism, homelessness and demanding more environmentally friendly initiatives, as President Obama and other world leaders gather to look for solutions to the global financial crisis.

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Protesters, who reportedly also have tried to storm the Bank of England, have scrawled the word “thieves” on the side of the Royal Bank of Scotland building.

London banks told employees to eschew suits, ties and other traditional attire for more causal clothes to avoid the wrath of protesters.

Summit talks officially begin Thursday, but Mr. Obama has already held a news conference with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Protesters have directed much of their anger at the United States, where they see bankers as greedy and the federal government as remiss for not being vigilant enough over U.S. financial markets.

Despite the surges in minor violence, the mood at the protest away from the police barricades was more like a rock festival, with young people walking the streets in big hats and brightly colored clothes. Many are on bicycles, in tents on city streets and carrying signs that read “Stop the Greed.”

The protests are unique in that protesters, reporters and police are using the Internet social-messaging platform Twitter to monitor activities.

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