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The BBC's Justin Webb
"Events got out of control"
 real 56k

UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair
"Such protests must not and will not disrupt the proper workings of democratic organisations"
 real 56k

Saturday, 16 June, 2001, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Blair: Anarchists will not stop us
Anti-capitalist protesters in Gothenburg
Protesters have been waging battle with police
Tony Blair has promised that the violence that has marred the EU summit in Gothenburg will not disrupt democracy.

The prime minister attacked the demonstrations, blaming an "anarchists' travelling circus" for the violence.

It is thought three protesters were hurt after police opened fire with live ammunition, one of whom is critically injured.


This effectively is an anarchists' travelling circus that goes from summit to summit with the sole purpose of causing as much mayhem as possible

Tony Blair
He said: "Such protests must not and will not disrupt the proper workings of democratic organisations."

His comments came at the end of a two-day meeting overshadowed by clashes with police involving hundreds of rioters.

"It is very sad that this has happened, not so much for us, because the leaders will be all right, but for thousands of ordinary citizens who have been put in danger and at risk," Mr Blair said.

'No room' for anarchy

He said that although there was a place for peaceful protest, people had no right to engage in "undemocratic anarchy".

"Peaceful protest is an essential part of a democracy, violent protest is not, and has no place in a democracy.

"This effectively is an anarchists' travelling circus that goes from summit to summit with the sole purpose of causing as much mayhem as possible."

Tony Blair
Mr Blair has condemned the violence
Anti-globalisation and anti-EU protesters threw fireworks and stones at police, who fought back with clubs.

Some mounted police were thrown off their horses.

Police sealed off a shopping mall in the centre of town after a suspected bomb was found.

Demonstrators tried repeatedly to get close to the conference hall where the 15 EU leaders were meeting, and at one stage were reported to be less than a mile away.

And on Friday, the leaders were forced to abandon their formal dinner because of the trouble.

Full alert

Police in Gothenburg remained on full alert on Saturday as the summit ended, fearing another round of the clashes.

Meanwhile, Europe's leaders issued a declaration aimed at reassuring countries in line to join the EU.

The issue of enlargement of the union received a set-back when Irish citizens voted against the Nice treaty in a referendum.

EU leaders insisted the treaty, which streamlines EU administration to make enlargement practical, cannot be changed.

Deadline

The EU leaders set a deadline of the end of 2002 to complete negotiations with the applicant countries, with full EU membership now targeted in time for them to offer up candidates for the elections to the European Parliament in 2004.

Peter Hain
Mr Hain says "cool it" over the euro
Mr Blair said: "It is incredibly important to all those countries which were formally a part of the Soviet bloc and which have come to democracy: we are talking about the security and prosperity of millions of people."

Meanwhile, in the UK, Mr Blair was facing renewed pressure to mount a campaign for British entry into the single currency in the wake of his landslide election victory.

The new chairman of the European Movement, former Tory trade minister Ian Taylor, told the organisation's annual conference in Cardiff that to stay out would cost British jobs and impact on UK profits.

"Tony Blair's unprecedented second landslide, after a campaign in which no-one could doubt the main parties' positions on Europe, gives the government precisely the authority it needs to lead a great national debate about Britain's future in Europe," Mr Taylor said.

"It is not only his right, but his responsibility to do so."

Staying out of the euro would demote Britain to an "outer tier of lesser influence" which would weaken Britain "enormously".

Earlier Europe Minister Peter Hain repeated a call for people to "cool it" over British entry into the single currency.

Asked at the end of the EU summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, whether he had come under any pressure from fellow European leaders to push ahead with British entry into the euro, Mr Blair responded: "No".

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See also:

16 Jun 01 | Europe
Thousands march on EU summit
16 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Patten decries Tory 'nightmare vision'
15 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Blair urged to start euro campaign
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