- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

LONDON (AP) - Police were out in force for the G-20 summit Thursday, swarming the east London riverside site as small groups of demonstrators protested world poverty and climate change. A French daredevil scaled a London insurance building to unfurl a banner, entertaining people on the ground.

At the ExCeL center in the Docklands area, where leaders of the Group of 20 financial powers held talks on the global economy, police manned barriers and checkpoints around the security perimeter, turning away anyone without accreditation within a half-mile (800-meter) radius. Police boats patrolled the River Thames.

Outside the summit venue, dozens demonstrated with signs that read “Stop Ethiopia from Starving.”

At the Bank of England in central London, demonstrators returned to the scene of violent clashes to express anger at the death of a man near a protest camp late Wednesday. The circumstances of the 47-year-old man’s death were unclear.

Hundreds of protesters were gathered near the bank Thursday, when police cordoned the group off and started searching individuals. The protesters observed a minute of silence and set up a wall of condolences before yelling “Shame on you!” at police.

As more protesters arrived, police tried to contain them within the search area. Some protesters broke away and were being chased through the streets by police and dogs.

Many streets in the city’s financial district were still cordoned off, and some 300 police were deployed in the area.

Journalists were being kept away from the cordon line. A spokesman from Scotland Yard who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with police policy said journalists were barred from the area as a safety precaution, but he would not elaborate. A new British anti-terrorism law can be used to bar photographers from taking pictures of police or military personnel.

Earlier in the day, French daredevil Alain Robert scaled Lloyds of London’s high-rise headquarters as office workers gathered below to snap photos.

Robert, dubbed the French spider-man, has scaled dozens of tall structures around the world without ropes or harnesses as part of a campaign to draw attention to global warming. He unfurled another climate change banner in his climb Thursday, before later being led away by police.

Other protesters sat and played a giant Monopoly game near the London Stock Exchange.

“The question is of course who has got the monopoly? It is fairly obvious the G-20 are the global financial elite,” said protester Clare Smith, 27.

“Meanwhile the poor are getting poorer and that has even started to show in this country, but has obviously been going on across the world for some time,” she said.

Police said there had been 111 arrests so far, most of them Wednesday, when some protesters broke into the Royal Bank of Scotland building and vandalized the Bank of England building.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators, meanwhile, were descending Thursday on two southwest German towns and the French city of Strasbourg to protest a cross-border NATO summit marking the alliance’s 60th anniversary.

President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy are among 28 world leaders expected to be on hand for the two-day summit beginning Friday after the end of London’s G-20 summit.

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