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Americas Summit Wrapping Up, Town Cleaning Up After Protests

The 34-nation Summit of the Americas is back in session for a second and final day in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The first day of deliberations was marred by violent protests.

The leaders arrived one by one at the summit site on a sparkling, cool morning. It was, in essence, the calm after the storm.

In the streets of the city, workers were sweeping up torched debris and piles of shattered glass. Many local residents shook their heads at the sight, and appeared shocked by the extent of the damage.

The violence broke out Friday, as the summit participants met for their first formal session. After a morning march and afternoon rally attended by tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators, small groups broke away and challenged security forces.

The rioters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, set fires and broke windows, as they moved toward the steel barricades that formed a ring around the summit venues.

The security forces responded by firing canisters of tear gas.

There were more than 60 arrests, but no reports of serious injuries.

The demonstrations were originally called to protest Bush administration policies in Iraq and U.S. calls for a free trade zone of the Americas.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez energized the protesters, telling the rally in a two-hour speech that he planned to bury hopes for a hemispheric trade agreement here in Mar del Plata.

Two other large South American countries, Argentina and Brazil, are lukewarm to the idea. But Mexican President Vicente Fox says 29 of the 34 summit countries want an agreement. He indicates that if there is no consensus at the summit, they may go ahead and launch their own negotiations without the others.