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Protest clashes at start of Bush's Latin American tour

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Protest clashes at start of Bush's Latin American tour

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George W. Bush has arrived in Brazil, on the first leg of a tour of Latin American countries. Officially, a warm welcome awaited the US leader and first lady in Sao Paulo. But earlier, clashes erupted during a huge march in Brazil’s largest city in protest at his visit. At least 20 people were reported hurt.

The disturbances marred an otherwise peaceful demonstration in which activists branded the American President a warmonger and planet polluter. Denouncing what they called state-sponsored torture, US imperialism and growing economic inequality, protesters demanded an end to the war in Iraq.

“He is a disaster and everywhere he goes, he causes disasters,” said one demonstrator.

In a region where anti-American voices are on the rise, Bush embarked on the visit seeking to strengthen US ties. “It is nothing more than to say we want to be your friends,” the president said in one interview, ahead of his five-nation tour.