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Sunday, 24 June, 2001, 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
Police break up Barcelona rally
Barcelona demonstration
Police moved in after protesters vandalised shops
Police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd of thousands of anti-globalisation demonstrators on the streets of Barcelona in north-eastern Spain.

The demonstration began peacefully but turned violent when a group of protesters began smashing shop windows, including many belonging to internationally-known companies.

In response, police twice charged the crowd, which had gathered in the city's main square, forcing them to disperse.

The march had been timed to coincide with a meeting of the World Bank, which was cancelled last month over fears of violent demonstrations.

Wave of protests

Despite the cancellation, internet sites invited people to gather in Barcelona anyway as a show of strength for their movement.

Police pursued scattering groups of protesters down a main street away from the square.

Some officers, dressed as demonstrators, made targeted arrests.

There has been no confirmation of any arrests or injuries.

Some estimates put the number of people attending the rally at least 20,000.

The BBC's Flora Botsford says that the police appeared well-prepared to cope with the violence.

The protest is the latest in a wave of anti-globalisation marches, including two days of riots in the Swedish city of Gothenburg earlier this month, which lead to arrests, injuries and widespread damage.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Flora Botsford in Barcelona
"The police have managed to regain control"
See also:

16 Jun 01 | Europe
EU sets date for expansion
14 Sep 00 | e-cyclopedia
Globalisation: What on Earth is it about?
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