Canada

Protests fizzle on Day 2 of summit

Only a handful of protesters showed up Tuesday outside a hotel in the Quebec resort town of Montebello as the three North American leaders wrapped up a two-day summit.

Only a handful of protesters showed up Tuesday outside a hotel in the Quebec resort town of Montebello as the three North American leaders wrapped up a two-day summit.

The group of five men from Waterloo, Ont., and Toronto were turned away by police, who were still positioned along the road leading to the heavily guarded hotel as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon completed their meetings.

The protesters blamed the threat of tear gas and rubber bullets for keeping demonstrators from the site.

At the height of Monday's demonstration, an estimated 1,200 protesters gathered around the resort.

Four people were arrested, mostly on obstruction of justice charges, when a handful of protesters clashed with riot squad officers guarding the hotel's front gates, police said.

Police said they used tear gas and plastic bullets to quell the protesters after they began throwing rocks and water bottles at the riot squad officers. Police said five officers were slightly injured.

A cameraman allegedly assaulted by protesters was also injured. He and the rest of the camera crew, who were broadcasting images of the protesters into the hotel, say they will not return, ending the so-called "protest cam." It had been billed as a way to respect the demonstrators' constitutional right to be heard.

At one point during the protest on Monday, Harper told reporters, "I've heard it's nothing. A couple hundred? It's sad."

Most of the protesters bused in for Monday had returned home on the second and final day of the summit.

One group of protesters joined the Raging Grannies to canoe up the river to the hotel Tuesday, but admitted earlier in the day that they were unlikely to reach the site while the three leaders were still there.

"The fact that we are with some Raging Grannies, we're not going as fast as the people burning gas in their yachts and helicopters are," protester Trevor Haché told CBC News by cellphone.

Asked whether he thought protesters were getting their message across, Haché was optimistic, saying he believed people were starting to ask why "the public is being kept outside while some of the largest corporations are allowed to basically buy access to them [the leaders]."

Protesters have charged that the summit is business-driven and anti-democratic since as a pact, rather than a treaty, elected representatives don't need to be consulted.

Meanwhile, Harper wrapped up the summit midday Tuesday with an agreement to block the import of unsafe goods following numerous scares over Chinese-made products.

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