Protests Outside Durban Climate Talks Turn Violent

 DURBAN, South Africa--Protests decrying a lack of action at U.N. climate talks turned violent Thursday, with at least three protesters hospitalized and about two dozen carted away by police.

The incident, which was condemned by South African President Jacob Zuma, was the first time protests at a climate change summit turned violent since the 2005 meetings in Montreal, though two years ago in Copenhagen police had to step in when masses of participants were prevented from entering the convention venue and were forced to wait outside in freezing conditions.

Zuma was the target of some protesters' anger. Television reports showed supporters of the South African leader clashing with others holding signs that read, “Zuma, stand with the poor, not with the U.S.A.!” The United States is one of the countries criticized for slowing the negotiations in Durban.

Even after police broke up the clashes outside the convention venue, hundreds of protesters remained despite windy and wet weather in the seaside city.

Some South Africa media charged that Zuma was not doing everything he could to broker a deal in Durban.

The talks, now in their penultimate day, are entering their busiest stage, with delegates shut up in closed-door meetings to hammer out a deal that will answer questions about what goes into force once the 2008-2012 compliance period of the Kyoto Protocol expires and how to help poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.