Anti-Bush riots jolt summit

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina - More than 1,000 demonstrators angry about President Bush's policies clashed with police, shattered storefronts and torched businesses Friday, marring the inauguration of the Summit of the Americas as leaders began debating creation of one of the world's largest free-trade zones.

The chaos reflected the often violent, worldwide debate on free trade as the United States and Mexico pushed to relaunch talks on a zone stretching from Canada to Chile. Past summits on the issue, including last year's gathering of Asian-Pacific leaders in Chile, have drawn bitter opposition and similarly angry protests.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez emerged as the most strident opponent of the plan, addressing a separate crowd of more than 25,000 peaceful protesters hours before the summit convened in this normally tranquil seaside resort.

Chavez vowed to defeat the Free Trade Area of the Americas once and for all. Speaking before a six-story banner of revolutionary Che Guevara, Chavez urged the throng, including soccer great Diego Maradona and Bolivian presidential hopeful Evo Morales, to help him fight free trade.