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UPDATED: 09:53, February 23, 2007
Protesters arrested ahead of Cheney's arrival at Australia
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Anti-war protesters and police clashed and 10 people were arrested Thursday in Sydney, Australia's largest city, ahead of the arrival of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney late at night.

The protesters were arrested when about 200 people attempted to break a line of police and march to the U.S. Consulate in Martin Place, but the officers, supported by a line of mounted police, held their positions as activists attempted to break through. The scuffle calmed after officers negotiated with organizers to allow the group to march on the footpath during busy peak hour traffic, Australian Associated Press reported.

The war in Iraq will be on the top of the agenda in Cheney's visit to Australia, during which he will held talks with Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd.

Howard on Monday announced Australia will send up to 70 extra military trainers to Iraq to help build up Iraqi army and police's skills to deal with growing sectarian violence in the war-torn country.

Australia is a staunch supporter of the U.S.-led war on terror and currently maintains around 1,400 troops in the Middle East, including 800 based inside Iraq.

About 30 Australian trainers are helping train the Iraqi army at a training center near Tallil.

Meanwhile, Australia is poised to double the troop numbers in Afghanistan by sending 450 extra troops to join more than 500 personnel already there in a bid to curb a resurgent Taliban.

A small defense force survey team would travel to Afghanistan to determine the shape of a larger commitment.

Source: Xinhua

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