We won't give an inch to anarchist 'circus', vows Blair

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair last night vowed that violent protests by an "anarchist travelling circus" would not be allowed to prevent EU leaders holding summits.

Two days of rioting, which left parts of Gothenburg city centre in ruins, shocked the ministers attending the summit and led to a review of security.

A 40-year-old Briton was among more than 100 people arrested by police, who were accused of over-reacting after three people were shot. One Swedish protester was last night battling for his life after being hit in the chest. Ten police were also injured.

The Swedish prime minister, Göran Persson, promised new efforts to co-ordinate intelligence on anti-capitalist protesters. At the end of yesterday's summit Mr Persson conceded that the new wave of international protest seen in Seattle, Nice and Gothenburg "can change the nature of these meetings if we are not able to deal with it".

Sweden plans to convene a new committee of foreign, interior and justice ministers which will co-ordinate intelligence on protesters, modelled on international measures to combat football hooliganism.

Already there is alarm at the prospect for violence next month when leaders of the G8 group of countries are due to meet in Genoa.

Mr Blair said: "It is very important that we don't concede an inch to these people. They are entitled to protest peacefully, they are not entitled to engage in undemocratic anarchy."