Protest near the G-7 Summit results in 68 arrests
BIARRITZ, France (AP) —French authorities have detained 68 people taking part in a tense protest near the G-7 summit.
The regional administration says those detained are accused of throwing projectiles, concealing their faces or possessing objects that could be used as weapons.
Police fired tear gas, water cannon and dispersion grenades at a crowd of about 400 mostly peaceful anti-capitalism demonstrators Saturday in the town of Bayonne. The regional administration says no injuries were reported in the skirmishes.
World leaders gathered in nearby Biarritz on Saturday to open the Group of Seven summit.
Security is high, and some yellow vest protesters angry at the French president and economic injustice have threatened action Sunday.
7:40 p.m. (France time)
A French diplomat says President Emmanuel Macron tried to reduce the pressure exerted by President Donald Trump over a new digital services tax the country is imposing on internet giants.
The official, who spoke anonymously in accordance with the French presidency’s customary practices, said Macron told Trump the tax is not an anti-American policy.
During a 2-hour working lunch with Trump, Macron stressed the need for every country to be able to tax digital activities.
Trump repeatedly vowed to retaliate against France for the new digital tax the country is imposing on big tech companies that sell online advertising by placing tariffs on French wine imports to the U.S.
The French diplomat said Macron told Trump there was no link to be made between the digital tax and the wine tariffs and tried to convince him there was no point in opening a trade war on that issue.
—By Sylvie Corbet
France’s Basque country is on the menu for the G-7 summit informal dinner of leaders.
Saturday night’s dinner in the seaside resort of Biarritz features local specialties of the Basque country. According to the menu released by the French president’s office, dinner starts with a contemporary take on a piperade, a dish typically made with tomatoes, onions, green peppers and a dose of the local dried red pepper, known as piment d’Espelette.
The appetizer will be followed by line-caught red tuna, prepared in a style known locally as Marmitako, something like a stew cooked in an earthenware dish traditionally with tomatoes and other vegetables.
The meal ends with local cheeses, and dessert featuring hand selected peaches and a selection of Basque cakes.
Police have fired water cannon and tear gas at about 400 anti-capitalist protesters blocking roads in a town near the venue of the G-7 summit in southwest France.
A few protesters threw rocks at police but the crowd in Bayonne was largely peaceful, with some activists dancing.
Police responded with warning shots and then water cannon. The incident took place near a bridge barricaded by police as part of extensive security measures around the Group of Summit meeting that opens Saturday.
Earlier Saturday thousands of demonstrators marched peacefully from the area to the Spanish border to demand more action against climate change and economic inequality. U.S. President Donald Trump is among leaders at the summit that runs through Monday.
A French diplomat says French President Emmanuel Macron outlined details of a French plan to ease tensions with Iran during his working lunch with President Donald Trump at the G-7 summit.
The official, who was speaking anonymously in accordance with the French presidency’s customary practices, said France has been working for several weeks on the plan.
The diplomat said France and the United States share the same interests: preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.
France’s plan would allow Iran to export oil for a limited amount of time. In exchange, Iran would need to fully implement the 2015 nuclear deal, reduce tensions in the Gulf and open talks.
Macron has taken a lead role in trying to save the nuclear accord, which has been unraveling since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement. Russia, along with Britain, Germany and China, remains a part of the accord.
—By Sylvie Corbet
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he’ll push Donald Trump to de-escalate the American trade war with China.
As he touched down at the G-7 summit in the French resort town of Biarritz, Johnson was preparing for what will be a closely watched first meeting with the U.S. president. He said he planned to push back particularly on the Amazon fires and would press Trump on the trade dispute with China.
Britain’s economy has taken a beating over Brexit and relies heavily upon global trade, including with China.
With Brexit at the top of their agendas, European leaders took advantage of a small window of time before the official start of the G-7 summit.
Boris Johnson, under pressure with the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline approaching, sat down at a small table facing the men and woman whose agreement he needs no avoid a no-deal departure from the European Union.
Already Johnson had traded barbs with the EU Council President Donald Tusk over who would earn the ignominious title Mr. No Deal. Later, he sat with Tusk, Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s caretaker leader Guiseppe Conte.
Johnson has already met separately this week with Merkel and Macron, who have challenged him to come up with a better alternative to the main sticking point, the deadlock on the Irish border question.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has touched down in the French seaside resort of Biarritz for his first Group of Seven summit, a gathering where he will meet U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time.
The meeting between the two men is expected to be crucial as Johnson prepares to pull Britain out of the European Union.
Johnson spoke earlier this week with French President Emmanuel Macron, the host of the summit of leaders of the world’s rich democracies, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Responding to European Council President Donald Tusk’s comment earlier that he didn’t believe Johnson wanted to go down as “Mr. No Deal,” referring to Britain leaving the EU without an agreement, Johnson effectively said their fates were tied over the issue of Ireland.
Johnson said that “if Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down as Mr. No Deal Brexit, then I hope that point should be born in mind by him too.”
A march against the Group of Seven summit has ended peacefully, after thousands of activists for various causes walked from southwest France into Spain under heavy security.
Regional police said no arrests or incidents were reported during Saturday’s march from Hendaye in France to Irun in Spain, and estimated some 9,000 people took part.
Protesters came from multiple countries to demonstrate for more action against climate change, for indigenous peoples, free trade deals and other causes. Some wore masks representing G-7 leaders meeting in nearby Biarritz.
Protester Gael Gilles, 30, told The Associated Press, “there is too much inequality in this world and I am here to demonstrate peacefully against this G7 … to tell (the leaders) that they do not go into the good direction on the climate and other things.”
French President Emmanuel Macron says he’s launching an appeal to all world powers to help Brazil and other South American countries fight the fires burning in the Amazon.
Before the Group of Seven summit, which begins Saturday, Macron thrust the rainforest fires to the top of the agenda. He touched on it again in a national address, which took place just as U.S. President Donald Trump touched down in the French seaside resort of Biarritz.
Macron also called for an end to the trade wars he said are “taking hold everywhere.” Just before Trump left the United States, he again threatened tariffs on French wines in retaliation for a French measure taxing technology companies.
European Council President Donald Tusk has promised EU retaliation if the U.S. makes good on its threats to impose tariffs on French wine.
Just before leaving for the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, U.S. President Donald Trump again threatened new taxes on French wine in response to a French measure taxing internet companies.
Tusk said that “the last thing we need and want is confrontation with our best ally, the United States.” But he said France can count on EU loyalty for one of its most valuable exports.
European Council President Donald Tusk says this year’s Group of Seven summit will be an “unusually difficult” meeting of the leaders of some of the world’s most powerful democracies.
The summit begins Saturday in the southern French resort town of Biarritz. Tusk warned in particular against trade wars, which he said could lead to a global recession. Other threats include climate change, and technology that is developing more quickly than the ability to regulate.
He warned that it could be the last moment to restore unity among the G-7 countries.
France is pressing the White House to endorse a global pledge at the Group of Seven summit to better fight against the spread of hate speech on the internet.
Cedric O, a French official in charge of digital economy, told reporters that the other six nations in the G-7 have already backed the pledge, as have Google and Facebook.
The U.S. didn’t endorse a similar pledge after the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year. O said the pledge includes a commitment to fight terrorist and hate speech on the internet, transparency on the process, and defense of freedom of expression.
Hundreds of protesters are marching as Group of Seven leaders arrive in the French resort town of Biarritz.
Protesters planned to cross into Spain from the French border village town of Hendaye. As the march began, they held cardboard signs aloft with pictures of Earth, protesting against climate policies they blame on the world’s G-7 countries.
French President Emmanuel Macron, the host, put the Amazon fires at the top of the agenda for the weekend meeting.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived for the Group of Seven summit amid escalating tensions with South Korea.
South Korea canceled a deal to share military intelligence, mainly on North Korea, after a trade dispute between the two countries.
Relations between two countries, both allies of the U.S., are at their lowest point since they established diplomatic ties in 1965.
Abe’s plane touched down in the French seaside resort on Biarritz on Saturday morning.
Germany says that impeding a trade deal between the European Union and South American trade bloc Mercosur won’t help reduce the destruction of rainforest in Brazil.
On Friday, Group of Seven summit host French President Emmanuel Macron threatened to block the recently agreed trade deal with Mercosur, which also includes Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Ireland joined in the threat.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made clear she shares Macron’s concern about the fires. But her government said in an emailed response Saturday to a query about the threat to the Mercosur deal that its trade section “includes an ambitious sustainability chapter with binding rules on climate protection,” in which both sides committed to implementing the Paris climate accord.
It added: “the non-conclusion (of the deal) is therefore from our point of view not the appropriate response to what is currently happening in Brazil.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Group of Seven leaders “cannot be silent” in the face of fires sweeping parts of Brazil’s Amazon and will call for everything to be done to stop fires in the rainforest.
Germany is backing French President Emmanuel Macron’s call to discuss the fires at the weekend’s French-hosted G-7 summit. Merkel said in her weekly video message released Saturday: “Emmanuel Macron is right — our house is burning, and we cannot be silent.”
She said leaders are “shaken” by the fires and that they will discuss “how we can support and help there, and send a clear call that everything must be done so that the rainforest stops burning.”
Amid a series of policy and trade disagreements, which she didn’t address explicitly, Merkel said that “talking to each other is always better than about each other — and the G-7 is an excellent opportunity for that.”
World leaders and protesters are converging on the southern French resort town of Biarritz for the G-7 summit.
French President Emmanuel Macron is the host of the summit, which begins Saturday and has emptied out the town famed for its beach on the last week of the summer break. He has downplayed any expectations of a unified front from the leaders of the Group of Seven democracies.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives later in the day. At last year’s meeting, Trump left early and repudiated the joint statement from Air Force One.
At the top of the agenda are climate change – and especially the fires burning in the Amazon – and a global economy teetering on the edge of recession.