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Protests in France ahead of Obama

From NBC News International
NBC Producer Andy Eckardt on the ground in Strasbourg, France, reports that approximately 500 to 1,000 so-called 'black block' protestors are reported to be scuffling with police when trying to get into the city. 

In the historic center, it is business as usual with an increasing police presence. Many people are out in the streets on this warm and sunny spring day.

Security zones throughout the city will be enforced by 9:00 pm local time (4:00 pm ET), which will make access to the inner city very difficult without special permission.

President Obama is scheduled to be in Strasbourg tomorrow.

*** UPDATE *** Apparently clashes with violent protestors are still continuing in the Strasbourg vicinity. When our French translator called police in the small town of Neuhof tonight, police answered the phone saying: "We don't have time to talk to the press, they are destroying our office."

Earlier in the day, protestors dressed in black, many masked, destroyed bus station shelters and a small number started smashing windows of official buildings.

Tonight, the inner city of Strasbourg would resemble what it seems to be -- a quaint little Alsacian city, if it was not for groups of French riot police at every second street corner and an iiner ring which is now only accessible with accreditations or special resodents' permits.

In regular intervals, helicopters have been hovering over the city center.

There are still lots of locals, tourists and journalists out in the streets of historic Strasbourg.