Friday, March 9, 2007

Bush arrives to Brazilian protest

"Police have clashed with thousands of Brazilians protesting at a visit by the US president and his push for an ethanol energy alliance with the Latin American country.

Riot police used tear gas and batons to disperse more than 6,000 protesters holding a largely peaceful march through Sao Paulo's financial heart just before George Bush arrived.

In Porto Alegre, more than 500 people chanted "Get out, imperialist!" as they marched to a Citigroup bank and burned an effigy of the US president.

Brazil has mounted its biggest ever security operation in Sao Paulo with about 4,000 officers on hand during Bush's visit......

Brazil is the world's biggest exporter and consumer of ethanol as an alternative fuel.

It has been enthusiastic about proposals to join forces with the US and create a world wide market for ethanol.

But not everyone is optimistic.

Mariana Schwarz, a 25-year-old publicist said: "We know that Bush and the United States are known for exploiting weaker countries into deals that will only benefit themselves without worrying about the environment."

Suzanne Pereira dos Santos, an activist with Brazil's Landless Workers Movement said: "Bush and the United States go to war to control oil reserves, and now Bush and his pals are trying to control the production of ethanol in Brazil. And that has to be stopped,"

Graffiti reading "Get Out, Bush! Assassin!" appeared on walls near the locations that Bush will drive past as he begins a Latin American tour that also includes stops in Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico......

Despite concerns over unity in Latin America, if Bush's plan is to counter the Chavez charm offensive in the region, Washington may have its work cut out.

Lula Da Silva, Brazil's president, has made it clear that his priority is unity between Latin American states, which includes, rather than isolates, Venezuela."

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