BBC. 1 February 2002. Munich police clash with protesters.

The first clashes between police and protesters have occurred in Munich,
as the city braces for mass demonstrations against a high-profile
security conference.

Officers broke up a crowd of several thousand protesters in the centre
of the southern German city, which a police spokesman said contravened a
city-wide ban on demonstrations.

About 2,000 anti-war protesters gathered in the city's Marienplatz
chanting "we are the people" and "we are peaceful, not you," the
Sueddeutsche website reported.

Several dozen were detained, some in handcuffs, when the police broke up
the gathering, Sueddeutsche said.

Four others, whom police said were known to be potentially violent, were
also arrested ahead of the conference.

Security checks have been imposed on roads into the city, the main
railway station, as well as in and around the city centre.

The alliance organising the protests says demonstrations will go ahead
as planned despite the weekend ban, and insists that the protesters'
intentions are peaceful.

It says the protest ban makes a mockery of constitutional rights,
particularly freedom of speech and assembly.

A lawyer representing the protesters had hoped to challenge the ruling
at Germany's Constitutional Court, but said on Friday that there was not
enough time to lodge a petition.

The police say they have evidence that up to 3,000 of the expected 5,000
protesters are bent on violence.

Many protesters are expected to arrive from Italy, Austria, Switzerland
and the Netherlands.

Three thousand officers, as well as water canon, armoured personnel
carriers and special commandos are to be deployed. Spaces are being
cleared to allow for the detention of 300 people.

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Barry Stoller

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