London, Apr 5 (ANI): US first lady Michelle Obama and her French counterpart Carla Bruni had to cancel their visit to a cancer hospice due widespread rioting that marred the NATO summit in Strasbourg. Molotov cocktails and scaffolding poles were thrown at police in the eastern French city, as hundreds of anarchists and other demonstrators went on the rampage.
"We've had to cancel a planned visit to the hospice because of the danger to all involved," The Telegraph quoted French president Nicolas Sarkozy's spokesman, as saying. Bruni had to visit the sick and the dying in the centre of the ancient city, but determined thugs, many wearing balaclavas and ski masks to hide their faces from police, were doing everything they could to disrupt the carefully arranged programme.
Some 1,000 protesters chanted and waved banners outside the hospice, accusing the leaders' wives of being "spoiled tools of capitalism," according to one banner.
Across the Rhine in Kehl, Germany, some 5,000 demonstrators gathered hoping to cross the river into the heavily fortified Strasbourg. On Thursday night some 300 protestors had been arrested, with dozens more being made today.
"The violence is already far worse than what went on at the G20 summit in London," said a French police spokesman. "The gangs of trouble makers are highly organised. Agitators have arrived from all over the world, including Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom."
Armoured riot vans and water cannon were seen heading towards the protesters' official camp in Ganzau, south of the city. (ANI)