Tight security in Rome as G8 justice ministers meet

Rome - Police sealed off streets in central Rome Friday as Group of Eight (G8) justice and home affairs minister began a two-day meeting covering organised crime and internet child pornography. In the afternoon, ministers from the G8, which consists of the US, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia, were scheduled to discuss problems linked to illegal immigration, including human trafficking.

Other participants at the meeting which is being held at a police training school, include EU Justice, Freedom and Security Commissioner Jacques Barrot as well as international security officials from Interpol and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Authorities said they expected pro-immigration and anti- globalization demonstrators to stage protests on both days outside the venue.

Italy's government, which currently holds the G8 presidency, has made the fight against illegal immigration one if its top priorities, introducing controversial measures such as the deportation of migrants intercepted in international waters.

Last week, more than a dozen police and demonstrators were injured in clashes in the north-western city of Turin during a meeting of academics from the G8 nations.

The main leaders' summit of the G8 is scheduled to take place in July in L'Aquila not far from Rome.

In 2001 in Genoa, when Italy last hosted a G8 summit, thousands of demonstrators and police battled in the city's streets with scores injured and one person, a 23-year-old protestor, shot dead by police.