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Danish police hold 240 climate protesters

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish police detained 230 people on Wednesday as protesters stormed barricades around a global climate summit and a handful briefly broke through, witnesses and a police spokesman said.

Police, some with dogs, used truncheons and pepper spray to keep back the hundreds of protesters who gathered outside Copenhagen’s Bella Centre, where world leaders are meeting to try to broker a new deal on global warming.

A spokesman for the group which organised the protest had said they aimed to penetrate a police cordon and disrupt the talks. A few did break through an outer ring of security for a minute or two but were chased down by police, a Reuters witness said.

One climbed onto a police van but an officer climbed up after him, and hit him twice with a baton, until he fell back down.

Roads surrounding the centre and the nearest metro station were closed, apparently in response to the protests. A helicopter circled overhead, and police were inspecting the belongings of some people heading towards the conference venue.

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The demonstrators had set out from Taarnby, a suburb of Copenhagen a few kilometres (miles) from the Bella Centre conference facility where 190 governments were meeting. Light snow flurries fell as they started their march.

Police later held some protesters at bay across a footbridge from the conference centre, where one man shouted at police: “We told you we would be peaceful, and you reacted with violence. Shame on you.”

Climate Justice Action, which organised the march, said 1,000 people were expected to take part. Police declined to estimate the number of protesters or comment on policing.

“We will get past the police cordon so that we can hold a popular assembly and discuss with delegates from the summit,” spokesman Peter Nielsen said on Danish TV2 news.

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“The police have tried to get in our way all week now,” he said. “This is a question of resolving a global problem, and we will not hold people back.”

Additional Reporting by John Acher and Henriette Jacobsen, writing by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Dominic Evans