G-8 protests take to the sea off Heiligendamm and block the road to summite site

Protesters made a fool of police again at the Group of Eight summit on Thursday, leading officers on a boat chase in the Baltic and blockading a road leading to the summit site.

No violence was reported.

Thousands of demonstrators had spent the night in the no-demonstration zone within a kilometer (a half mile) of the security fence surrounding the summit at the coastal resort of Heiligendamm.

The words "Evil Empire!!!!" were taped on a road sign that pointed the way to Heiligendamm.

Offshore, activists from the Greenpeace environmental organization - with banners reading "G-8, Act Now" - led police on a boat chase. One boatload of protesters spilled into the Baltic after colliding with their pursuers.

Greenpeace said the boat chase underlined the group's demand for the summit to set clear goals for the emissions of greenhouse gases without the United States, which opposes mandatory cuts.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hosting the leaders of the United States, France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Canada and Japan for a meeting focusing on climate change, aid to Africa, and Western efforts to secure independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo. The summits draw protesters every year.

Near Bad Doberan, on the main road to Heiligendamm, some 2,000 protesters munched on apples, drank orange juice and napped on the road as three groups maintained a blockade aimed at preventing supplies and staff from reaching the summit.

Demonstrators had dodged police Wednesday, getting into the buffer zone around the fence where demonstrations are forbidden, but police let many of them stay.

"We were really surprised," said Joschka Waas, a university student from Weimar studying to be a teacher. "Here we are in the forbidden zone and we've got portable toilets set up and everything. Nobody thought the blockade would last this long, especially the police."

As he spoke, groups of protesters sat side by side on the road, parting only to let emergency vehicles pass through.

"We're not after a fight, this is just a symbolic blockade of this illegitimate fence," said Waas, barefoot and shirtless. He said that front-page photos of protesters throwing stones were the only media coverage of an otherwise peaceful protest.

"Why aren't they here taking pictures of us?" he asked.

He and other demonstrators said that portions of the 12-kilometer-long (7.5-mile) fence had been breached during the night, but police denied such claims.

"This blockade has been a clear success; we work hard for our message," Nicolaus Schuette, of Berlin. "These G-8 people stand for the system of competition. I'm sleeping here thinking of friends who have their problems: prostitutes, immigrants and prisoners. We are united and we are sitting here and we all share the same aims."

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