Murad Sezer  /  AP
Members of Turkey's left-wing Labor Party set fire to an effigy of President Bush in downtown Istanbul on Sunday, just hours before Bush's arrival for a NATO summit.
updated 6/28/2004 3:57:21 PM ET 2004-06-28T19:57:21

Hundreds of protesters hurled fire-bombs and stones at police Monday as they tried to reach the conference center where NATO leaders were meeting. Police used tear gas and water cannons to stop the crowd, and dozens of people were injured.

Hours later, a concussion grenade went off in front of a building used by the Defense Ministry in Ankara, shattering some windows. No injuries were reported, state television said. Leftists groups were blamed for similar bombings ahead of the NATO summit, including two last week that killed four people.

The clashes in Istanbul took place about two miles from a barricaded zone in the city center where the NATO leaders — including President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac — were meeting.

Twenty-six police officers and about 20 civilians were injured in the protests, officials said.

In the most violent protest, in Istanbul’s Okmeydani neighborhood, about 2,000 demonstrators flipped cars over and hurled firebombs at police. Police fired water cannons and tear gas at the protesters and beat some with clubs. An armored personnel carrier moved through the street where small fires burned.

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Another crowd of protesters gathered nearby and threw rocks at police who used pepper spray to disperse the group.

Police said 44 protesters were detained, the Anatolia news agency reported.

On Sunday, about 20,000 demonstrators, some chanting "USA get out of the Middle East!" gathered in a square to protest Bush's appearance.

F-16 warplanes patrolled the skies of Istanbul on Sunday. AWACS early warning planes dispatched by NATO will help monitor a no-fly zone over the city. More than 23,000 police will be on duty during the summit. Turkish commandos are patrolling the Bosporus in rubber boats with mounted machine guns.

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