The Latest: G7 protest march ends peacefully as leaders meet

BIARRITZ, France (AP) — The Latest on the Group of Seven summit (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

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.”


1:35 p.m.

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.


12:40 p.m.

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.


12:35 p.m.

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.


12:25 p.m.

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.


11:50 a.m.

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.


11:30 a.m.

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.


11:05 a.m.

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.”


10:55 a.m.

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.”


10:30 a.m.

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.

Categories: International News