Police Fire Tear Gas on Anti G-8 Protestors

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Hundreds of protesters opposed to the Group of Eight summit threw rocks at a meeting hall Saturday, then clashed with police who fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.

No injuries were immediately reported.

Some 4,500 protesters are gathered in camps outside the southeastern town of Annemasse, which the French government designated for demonstrations against the G-8. The summit of the world's top seven economies and Russia starts Sunday in nearby Evian.

Saturday's clash erupted when about 350 people from the camps disrupted a meeting of France's Socialist Party, which the mostly leftist protesters consider too centrist, Mayor Robert Borel told The Associated Press.

After hurling stones that broke several windows at the conference hall, the protesters regrouped at a fast-food restaurant parking lot. About 100 riot police, armed with transparent plastic shields and gas masks, swept into the lot and fired tear gas.

Several protesters said there were no arrests. Police declined to comment.

There was no damage to the Quick restaurant, which apparently was not targeted by the protesters. Fast food restaurants have been attacked in some past anti-globalization protests. The restaurant had been closed for business as part of security precautions against possible violence.

The protesters gathered in this working-class town outside Geneva, Switzerland, have diverse grievances on issues such as the environment, economic development in Africa or poverty but are united in their distaste for the G-8.

France has deployed thousands of riot police in the region to prevent any would-be agitators from sparking violence that marred such summits in the past.

Also Saturday, more than 1,000 activists marched to three Annemasse service stations -- also closed for security reasons -- and covered gasoline pumps with plastic sheets that read "G-8 ... The world is not at your service."

There were no police around during the peaceful march.

Many shops, banks and restaurants, including a McDonald's, were closed for the weekend. Some storefronts were boarded up to protect against break-ins or damage.