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Thousands of Protesters Rally in Northern Japan Against G8 Summit

Thousands of people demonstrated in northern Japan Saturday in advance of next week's summit of leaders of the world's eight richest nations.

The protesters gathered in the city of Sapporo to demand the Group of Eight leaders take action on a number of issues, including soaring food prices.

They also denounced the G8 itself for such ills as war, discrimination, poverty and global climate change.

Foreign activists, farmers and non-governmental organizations made up the ranks of the protesters.

Thousands of riot police were deployed along the march route. Officials say at least four people were arrested.

Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido Island. The G8 leaders will convene at a nearby luxury resort on Monday for a three-day summit.

The G8 includes the United States, Japan, Russia, France, Britain, Canada, Italy and Germany.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.