First Ladies' Event Canceled as NATO Protests Get Ugly

Anti-NATO demonstators clash with Police in Germany
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2009 7:47 AM CDT
A riot police officer, left, watches a group of anti-NATO activists protesting in downtown Strasbourg, eastern France, Saturday April 4, 2009, during NATO's 60th-anniversary summit.    (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
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(Newser) – Protesters clashed with police in Strasbourg today less than 2 miles from where NATO’s leaders were gathering for the alliance’s 60th anniversary summit. French police decked out in body armor fired tear gas and flash bombs, while protesters lobbed Molotov cocktails and rocks, the AP reports. Organizers canceled a trip for Michelle Obama and the other first ladies to a cancer hospital that was surrounded by some 1,000 protesters.

After their clash with police, the protesters headed for Europa Bridge, where members of the violence-prone “black bloc” set fire to a French customs station. Earlier, two dozen NATO leaders had crossed the bridge separating Germany and France in a moment of unity, with as many as 4,000 peaceful protesters lining the route, chanting “No to NATO! No to war!”