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G8 leaders gather amid protests




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G8 Summit

AUCHTERARDER, Scotland (CNN) -- As the leaders of the world's richest nations arrived at a central Scotland resort, hundreds of protesters stormed a field surrounding the Gleneagles Hotel in an effort to bring their messages to the annual G8 summit.

Riot police on horseback on Wednesday herded the demonstrators away from a security fence surrounding Gleneagles, back to the intended route. The protests are taking place near the sleepy Scottish village of Auchterarder more than a mile from Gleneagles.

Other riot police used dogs to keep the crowd away from the security fence. Several Chinook helicopters landed in the fields surrounding Gleneagles, bringing in more police officers.

About 10,000 police have been mobilized to keep the protests under control.

The demonstrators are protesting a wide range of issues including global warming, global poverty, nuclear weapons, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hope their various agendas will be addressed by the G8 leaders.

While the leaders from United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia arrived Wednesday, the two-day G8 summit will officially begin Thursday.

On Wednesday night, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greeted the visiting leaders at a formal dinner at the Gleneagles Hotel.

Earlier, violence erupted in other Scottish villages along the road to Auchterarder, as some protesters smashed police cars with batons and threw rocks, injuring several police. (Full story)

Scottish authorities temporarily suspended the Auchterarder protest for about an hour in the wake of the violence, as they negotiated with the group organizing protests, the G8 Alternatives.

Police say as many as 5,000 are licensed to take part in the Auchterarder protest, but believe many more could arrive.

U.S. President George W. Bush arrived in Europe Tuesday ahead of the G8 summit to pay a courtesy call on Denmark, a country whose government has been a major supporter of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

The U.S. leader arrived at Gleneagles Wednesday, which is also Bush's 59th birthday, with his wife Laura and daughter Jenna.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a Bush ally in the Iraq war, was the first to arrive, coming from Singapore where he had engaged in a round of last-minute lobbying on London's successful bid to serve as host for the summer Olympics in 2012. (Full story)

The Group of Eight, or G8, is an informal group that meets annually to discuss major world issues.

Aid to Africa and global climate change are expected to be the marquee issues at the summit, put at the top of the agenda by Blair, who has pushed for more international help to combat African poverty and implement of the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our primary focus in Africa is going to be to focus efforts on solving people's problems," Bush said during a news conference with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. (Full story)

"They have a problem with HIV and AIDS, and we're leading the world when it comes to contributions."

On global warming, the president admitted that humans are contributing to the problem, but said he does not thinking the Kyoto accord is the answer.

"I think there's a better way forward. I would call it the post-Kyoto era," Bush said. "Where we can work together to share technologies to control greenhouse gasses as best as possible."

However, even Blair has conceded he is unlikely to come away from the summit with any concessions by Bush on the Kyoto treaty, which the United States has not ratified and which the president opposes.

CNN Correspondent Matthew Chance and White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report.

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