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Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
The Gothenburg city bus to nowhere
Crowds of people in Gothenburg, Sweden, during the EU-Bush summit
Protests and police made it hard to get home
By BBC News Online's Lars Bevanger

Trying to get anywhere within Gothenburg city limits on Thursday evening was going to be a long shot.

I boarded a public bus close to the EU summit venue, optimisitically heading back to my hotel.

I don't think we'll get far. You can all get on for free - I can't promise anything

City bus driver
On questions from passengers whether the bus would follow its usual route, the bus driver smiled and shook his head.

"We'll see, but I don't think we'll get far. You can all get on for free - I can't promise anything," he told us.

The main protest march against US President George W Bush was gathering at one of the city's main squares.

A carnival atmosphere reigned.

People in colourful clothes, some wearing face paint and carrying placards with anti-Bush slogans, were heading in one direction.

Many of Gothenburg's other citizens were heading the opposite way, trying to get home or out of the centre.

Police presence

All the while a police helicopter was hovering above.

Our bus made it through three bus stops, then came to a halt in front of a row of large police vehicles cordoning off another of the city's squares.

US President George W Bush meets King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden
Mr Bush met King Carl Gustaf while the city shut down
Some 20 police officers were dotted in between them.

The American, Swedish and EU flags were flying behind the police line.

A young man jeered at the police as they donned their white riot helmets.

There was no perceivable provocation or danger of any kind at this crossroads, only slightly confused bus passengers and pedestrians whose journey had come to an unexpected end.

A friendly local on a bicycle pointed me in the direction of the nearest tram stop with any chance of trams actually arriving and taking me home.

Elsewhere in the city, President Bush and EU leaders were arriving at their working dinner at the old Gothenburg Stock Exchange building.

Not far away, several skirmishes broke out between groups of protesters and police.

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See also:

30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
14 Jun 01 | Europe
Swedes still sceptical about EU
13 Jun 01 | Europe
Tanker boarded in Bush protest
13 Jun 01 | Europe
Bush's Nato charm offensive
13 Jun 01 | Europe
Analysis: France fights US vision
08 Jun 01 | Europe
Bush's European timetable
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