Steve Cisler on 31 Jan 2001 04:36:19 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Davos as armed camp

Dan Gillmor is a very good tech. journalist here in San Jose.  He does a web
log from which he draws material for his San Jose Mercury columns.  From
Saturday: 1/27

Police Village

Last year, protesters at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum here
got a bit violent, breaking windows in a local McDonald's and throwing
punches at several policemen. This year, the police and army tried to keep
them entirely out of the Davos village proper.

The authorities didn't entirely succeed, and they've used force (Reuters) in
putting down even moderate demonstrations today.

To what end? The police presence has become such an overwhelming presence
here that it's almost overshadowed the events inside the World Congress
Centre, site of the meeting's primary events.

Even some of the local hotels are armed camps. The Seehof, near the railway
station, is favored by some political leaders who come here each year.
Getting into the place is almost as rigorous as at the World Congress Centre
itself. You have to go through metal detectors while cold-eyed security
forces eye your badge. There are three different checkpoints on the way

The Swiss have been taking security to paranoid extremes. They even blocked
a speaker (Newsweek) who was coming in by train and was scheduled to speak
at a counter-gathering nearby the Congress Centre.

The desire of authorities to keep people safe is more than understandable,
given the stature of some of the people here. But I wonder if the Swiss and
the Forum understand how much this police-state stuff is fueling the

Some of the people who are part of the Davos meeting -- that is, they were
specifically invited to be here -- are expressing deep unhappiness about
what's going on, and they've issued a press release. I have only a paper
copy and don't know if it's online anywhere. So here's a key quote from the
release, which is signed by Jeremy Rifkin and Esther Dyson among others.

"Unfortunately, Davos has become a fortress with ominous consequences for
the future of global dialogue," it says. I hope the corporate and political
leaders here are listening.

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