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OTTAWA (CP) -- Protesters smashed windows at a downtown McDonald's and faced off against police Friday near the site of G-20 international financial meetings.

Riot police, banging on their shields, pushed back about 300 people and made several arrests.

It appeared that a handful of demonstrators, some wearing gas masks, were causing most of the trouble. Others milled around dancing and banging on drums.

"We were trying to decide how to get out of here," said one demonstrator who appeared to be in his early 20s, "... and then they (police) attacked."

He refused to give his name but said he is a member of the Black Touta, an anarchist group.

Another young man, who identified himself only as a political science student from out of town said, "I'm not here to smash anything."

A few demonstrators pushed and shoved journalists and tried to grab their cameras.

Most protesters were concentrated on Wellington Street in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, where they were planning their next move after the initial burst of activity.

A slogan spray painted in black on the nearby Bank of Canada building read: It has to start somewhere; it has to start sometime; what better place than here what better time than NOW?

A white paint ball was smashed against the glass office tower.

The protesters had earlier crashed through a police barricade near the National War Memorial on Elgin Street and moved inside a police perimeter before they withdrew.

Two lines of police with dogs and shields later herded demonstrators west from the conference site.

The crowd pushed over some newspaper boxes and dragged them into the street and at one point surrounded a police tactical van.

The group, opposing a range of issues including globalization and corporate dominance, began the march earlier behind a large black banner carried by two protesters reading Smash the State.

"What a bunch of idiots," one woman commented as they marched past.

It was the first in what are expected to be a wave of protests associated with meetings of the G-20, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Ottawa this weekend.

A Montreal-based protester named Carina addressed the group before they left a neighbourhood park about two kilometres from the meetings, telling them they had to get their message across.

"We're going to do it creatively; we're going to do it loudly; we're going to do it safely, and we're going to do it effectively," she said as police on motorcycles watched from surrounding street corners.

Within minutes, a nearby McDonald's was boarding up its windows after receiving word the group was headed there.

The G-20 represents a mix of big and small countries that together make up 88 per cent of the world's economic output and includes 60 per cent of the world's poor.

Members range from the United States and United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil and the European Union.

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