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The BBC's Paul Reynolds in Los Angeles
"It'll be up to Mr Gore to make his own mark"
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The BBC's Philippa Thomas in Los Angeles
"Clinton walked on to the stage like a rock star"
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Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK
Protests at money politics
Vietnam veteran
A disabled Vietnam veteran follows the protest
BBC News Online's Kevin Anderson in Los Angeles

Police and protesters clashed outside the Staples Centre on Monday as President Bill Clinton delivered his farewell speech to the Democratic Party convention.

As a film recapping his political life and presidency played inside the centre, some 400 police moved to push protesters from the site of an earlier concert.

The police had given protesters 15 minutes to disperse, speaking to them over a loudspeaker in both English and Spanish.

Several protesters suffered minor injuries, mostly welts and bruises from rubber bullet fire, and at least one protester was taken from the scene by ambulance after he was trampled by a police horse.

Decrying corporate influence

The clashes came after a mostly peaceful day of protests that culminated with a concert by Rage Against the Machine, a band known for its politically charged lyrics, its driving rap-rock style and its intensely loyal following.

Police and demonstrator
At least one protester was hospitalised
The protests addressed a broad range of issues including calls for nuclear disarmament, for an end to the death penalty and for Vice-President Al Gore to end his investment in Occidental Petroleum.

The protesters were united, however, by a belief that corporate money dominated US politics and that, as a result, their issues were not being addressed.

Tensions rise

An estimated 7,000 fans and protesters came to the concert, but during Rage Against the Machine's concert, the focal point was the stage.

That changed after the music ended.

A small group of black-clad protesters huddled about half an hour after the concert had ended. After conferring amongst themselves, they moved towards the fence.

They began hurling bottles, smoke bottles and eventually, sign posts and chunks of concrete over a 12-foot tall fence towards the police.

Two protesters climbed the fence as police showered them in pepper spray.

But the BBC's Mark Orchard, who was on the scene, said that police did not act until protesters with slingshots began hitting the convention centre with missiles.

A police spokesman said the police had to react because of "very violent demeanour of the crowd."

Clearing the crowd

After the order to disperse, at least 90% of the protesters left the area, but a small group remained.

Police on motorcycles and horses moved into the protest area and began pushing the protesters back onto a street bordering the convention centre car park.

Several hundred protesters retreated onto the street facing a line of mounted police.

Within minutes, police in riot gear poured through the line of mounted officers.

They fired rubber bullets and foam rounds into the crowd - as well as what appeared to be "bean-bag rounds" - non-lethal projectiles designed to knock people down.

The police said they made 10 arrests, bringing the total number of arrests during the convention to 38.

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See also:

15 Aug 00 | Americas
Clinton bids Democrats farewell
15 Aug 00 | Americas
Picture gallery: The Democrat show
15 Aug 00 | Americas
Hillary thanks America
14 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood's Democratic love affair
13 Aug 00 | Americas
Gore facing crucial week
07 Aug 00 | Election news
Gore seeks comeback formula
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