Excerpt: "Czech President Havel notably warned that "too much attention is being given to security arrangements, as if we were getting ready for some sort of civil war."
Gees, if only an American President thought so clearly.
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Sunday, August 6 11:18 AM SGT
Anti-IMF protestors plot Czech "Seattle II"
PRAGUE, Aug 6 (AFP) -
The Czech capital Prague is currently basking in the
summer heat. Tourists
throng along the baroque Charles Bridge, Wenceslas
Square and up on the
Castle hill overlooking the spectacularly beautiful
Everything is as it should be. But all that could change
For Prague is bracing for what anti-globalization
protestors are warning
will be "Seattle II," a mass demonstration against the
annual meeting of
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank
from September 21-29.
And, while all is calm on the streets, the plotting is
well underway -- on
"The protest in Seattle on November 30 1999 rocked
capitalism to its
foundations," say the authors of www.destroyimf.org, one
of a handful of
websites coordinating the protest plans. "We don't just
want to disrupt
their summits ... We want an end to debt, poverty and
"That's why we're going to Prague to make the IMF summit
in September 2000
into Seattle II," it warns.
Czech authorities say they are taking all necessary
measures to prepare
for the meeting, being held in Europe for the first
time, which will
gather up to 20,000 ministers, bank chiefs and top
officials from dozens
Some 11,000 police equipped with riot gear are to be
deployed in September
to control an estimated 20,000 protestors expected to
descend on the
Bohemian capital from Europe and around the world.
IMF director general Horst Koehler visited Prague last
week to discuss
preparations for the meetings, and pledged total
openness with the
protestors, saying delegates will even attend some
meetings organized by
Czech President Havel notably warned that "too much
attention is being
given to security arrangements, as if we were getting
ready for some sort
of civil war."
Protestors aren't so sure. And they are using the power
of the internet to
coordinate travel, accommodation and protest location
"Turn Prague into Seattle!" says Workers' Power
describing the September meeting as "aiming to plot the
next stage of
restoring capitalism in Eastern Europe."
The IMF and the World Bank "are unreformable
institutions which harm world
society and the environment and must be dismantled,"
said Alice Dvorska,
spokesman for the Initiative Against Economomic
INPEG (http://inpeg.ecn.cz/) is notably organizing a
September 22-24. Britons, Poles and Dutch are expected
to be prominent
among foreigners swelling the protest ranks.
The main street protests will be September 24 and 26,
the second one
likely to be more radical.
The planned Prague protests could be the biggest since
last year's Seattle
anti-WTO demonstrations which turned violent and which
appear to have set
a tone for regular counter-culture events at such
This year protests have marred proceedings at the World
(WEF)'s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in
February, the IMF/World
Bank spring meeting in Washington in April, and most
recently last month's
G8 summit in Okinawa.
Last week the first real, if symbolic, protest was held
in the Old Town
Square in the heart of the Czech capital.
A football match pitted three "global" players --
dressed up as McDonalds,
Shell and Phillip Morris -- against a worker, a farmer
and a woman. With
the help of an IMF/World Bank referee , the three global
Tourists were the main beneficiaries of the protest. But
protestors, the web is clearly the place to keep up to
The destroyimf website, which includes advice on travel
as well as constantly updated information on protest
locations, says the
Czech authorities are not alone.
"The IMF summit in Prague will be protected by a Czech
run by the FBI," it says.
"The challenge to the workers' movement is to shutdown
that summit with
the biggest international demo Europe has ever seen."
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