PGA Bulletin

Peoples' Global Action against "Free" Trade and the WTO

Issue number 2, June 1998

Part II

previous part (Introduction)

Global Days of Action against "Free" Trade and the WTO — May 1998

International actions: Geneva, Caravan "Money or Life?"

Asia: India (Hyderabad, New Delhi), Israel, Nepal (Chitwan, Kathmandu), Philippines, Sri Lanka

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland (Helsinki, Turku), France, Germany (Berlin, Darmstadt, Dresden, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Gorleben, Göttingen, Gunkelrode, Heidelberg, Hildesheim, Karlsruhe, Mainz), The Netherlands (The Hague, Utrecht), Russia, Slovenia, Spanish State (Avilés, Barcelona, Durango, Iruña, Lugo, Sevilla, València), Sweden, Switzerland (Aarau, Basel, Bern, Geneva, Gösgen, Hindelbank, Oftringen), United Kingdom (Birmingham, York)

Latin America: Brazil, Chile (and other countries)

North America: Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, Orangeville, Regina, Toronto, Winnipeg), United States (Arcata, Berkeley, Portland)

Pacific: Aoteoroa, Australia (Brisbane, Sydney)

International Actions


Saturday: the 16th of May found Geneva in a state of "soft siege" for the WTO Summit. 1600 police, plus customs, army infrastructure, helicopters braced against invasion by the foreign hordes of PGA! Finally, not many arrived, the French marchers of "Action contre le Chômage" having been (coincidence?) repressed by the police before they even started, and practically all the Italians and Germans arrested and expulsed by the Swiss Police. Only the Swiss part of the fantastic bicycle and tractor caravan — looking like a kind of beautiful gypsy circus — swept in, just as 10.000 people gathered for the largest demonstration that the United Nations has seen since the Reagan--Gorbatchev Summit in 1984. The people came with the banners of all kinds of struggles against some aspect of globalization: local unions fighting privatizations or austerity, groups of solidarity with the south, squatters, plus many personal banners, musicians, and the caravan tractors towing a huge sound system. Everyone there agreed: stupendous, unbelievable demo. In front, holding the PGA banner (with a four meter high banner from India behind them) were some members of the international Convenor's Committee and some other representatives of peoples' movements that participated in the First PGA conference: Prof. Nanjundaswamy, KRRS (India); Joon Kyu Kim, KFL (South Korea); Patricia Teran Vega, FZLN (Mexico); Fatima Orozco, UNAG and Daniel Querol, GME (Nicaragua); Rafael Alegria, Via Campesina (Honduras); Virgina Hernandez, COMUTRAS (El Salvador); Libia Grueso, PCN (Colombia); Gilberto Oliveira, MST (Brazil); Alejandro Demichelis, CTERA (Argentina); Paulo Cuinica, ORAM (Mozambique); Olga Samborska, CENTAVRIYA (Ukraine) and different representatives of European movements.

The demo moved like a tide of hope through the city. The banks and a couple of McDonalds deserved special treatment by some demonstrators, who painted and broke their windows. 100 meters from the WTO Building (fittingly decorated with steel barriers, rolls of barbed wire and Police) the demo halted, and there were some moments of tension when a few objects were thrown at the police. But the tension disappeared as soon as the representatives of peoples' movements spoke: of the hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers fighting against the WTO and the hundreds of them driven to suicide by its policies; of the defiant Zapatistas and the dirty war waged against them by the Mexican government; of the impact of neoliberal policies on education, and much more. Then the demo moved back to a crossing and a street party started — complemented with a huge dinner cooked and shared in the park next to the crossing. On the way back to the crossing a diplomatic Mercedes of the WTO was overturned, which happened to be Ruggiero's car (the head of WTO!!). At around 22h30 the demo came back to the city centre and was officially ended. However the sound system was still playing and many people were still assembled. Suddenly a small group started breaking all the windows in sight and the police charged. The remains of the demo retreated towards the park where the caravan was camping. Most of the demonstrators gathered around a fire and tried to calm things, but a small group (many very young kids from the quarter) continued breaking small shops and affronting the police. Many people got beaten up (especially the people from the caravan, who were not taking part in the fights) — several were seriously injured, at least one ending up in intensive care at the hospital. The police charged with teargas against the camp (where there were families with small children sleeping) and provoked its dissolution in the middle of the night. The fighting went on until 4h30 in the morning as the police helicopter and searchlight attracted hundreds of the Saturday night crowd to join the show.

Sunday: the minister of "justice" and the yellow press (which had been advertising "riots during WTO conference" for months!) said the PGA was responsible for the riots. The convenors replied that they regretted the damage to small shops but that this violence was nothing compared to the violence organized in the WTO building. Unfortunately, the very necessary internal discussions provoked by this situation resulted in rather small numbers attending the seminar on WTO held at the University.

Monday: police repression continued. Young people were arrested at random in the streets (more than 350 in four days), chained for hours to pillars in an underground parking lot, illegally fingerprinted and often beaten, imprisoned on vague charges or expulsed from the country for years. Despite all this, actions continued, demonstrating in front of Clinton's hotel, blocking traffic at intersections and occupying symbols of globalization in the city, such as the international headquarters of the World's biggest arms dealer (and corrupter of governments) Lockheed Aviation. The activists presented to the press documentary evidence stolen from Lockheed's office of its dubious dealings with politicians and NATO generals. The headquarters of United Bank of Switzerland (which recently merged to make a hundred billion dollar increase in profits and throw out 10.000 employees) was also occupied ... and filled with feathers!

Tuesday: repression and actions continued. At 18h more than a thousand persons, gagged and handbound (to symbolize the situation of the people with respect to the global decision makers) marched in silence from the station to the Island of Rousseau (author of "The Social Contract") in the middle of the city to denounce the replacement of social policy by market forces. A symbolic burial was performed in front of his statue representing the victims of economic warfare, humans treated as merchandise. In the night, the riots broke out again (this time definitely detached from any PGA event) and lasted until the early hours. The police took the excuse to surround and illegally break into Artamis — a centre of alternative activities and artisans where the caravan had sought refuge. All sixty people on the site were brutally arrested. Some of the caravan participants were arrested three times in the week, each time for many hours without food or water.

Wednesday: PGA called for a action of non-violent civil disobedience at midday in front of the United Nations (where the WTO conference was taking place), with the stated intention of crossing the police barriers, entering and stopping the conference. After an open-air press conference with the convenors and a public announcement to the police of the non-violent nature of the action, several hundred people moved calmly and determinedly forward, some even on their knees to emphasize the non-violence. Police responded with incredible violence, kicking and bludgeoning under the TV cameras for more than an hour. 9 people were arrested and most of them severely beaten when handcuffed and in custody. The police told one that they would break his fingers, and then did so. Another had his nose deliberately broken. The demonstrators refused to leave if their friends were not released. Finally 8 people were freed.

Saturday 22: demonstrators gathered outside the prison, on the outskirts of the city, to cheer their friends inside. By Monday the authorities, under a certain pressure from some of the media, had released all, but almost a hundred are indicted and many foreigners are banned. An anti-repression committee has organized a demo since and obtained the formation of a parliamentary inquiry on the issue.

Evaluation: we are happy!!! Despite many errors and lack of organization, the incredible response of all kinds of people in Geneva and all Switzerland has at one stroke transformed the WTO from an unknown acronym to a very controversial institution with a very bad public image, at least in this country. Ruggiero was always on the defensive, since all kinds of NGOs, parties, and unions suddenly have started to criticize the WTO. Despite the riots, popular support for the PGA in Geneva is untouched and massive. Many people needed this. Since '68 there hasn't been a movement that has grown so fast and beautifully. The success in Switzerland has many people asking, "is this the first flutter of a new global social movement?" After so many years of saying "it's no use resisting here, we would have to organize globally", people are thinking "hey, maybe we can!"

Next steps for us: an international seminar in August, mobilizations against the MAI in October, and against Davos (internationally?) in January. This was just the beginning!


Report of the bicycle caravan "Money or Life?"

A group of cyclists and two tractors went all the way from the North, East and centre of Germany to Geneva. The caravan stopped in many different towns, where local hosts organized talks, video shows, demonstrations, etc. They also prepared information billboards about local struggles, to be added to an exhibition that grew and grew on the way to Geneva. The caravan left from three different places: Gorleben, Dresden and Mainz. This report is based on the notes taken by someone who participated in the first one. Hence, there is no report about the cities that were visited by the caravans from Dresden and Mainz before they met the Gorleben caravan.

The caravan left Gorleben, a region in the North of Germany where there is a very strong local resistance against a radioactive waste cemetery. There were only five people cycling at the beginning, along with a tractor, but many more people and one more tractor joined them on the way. In Hildesheim there was a little march trough the city and a meeting and discussion about the MAI, followed by a party. In Göttingen there was again a march in the city centre, which finished with a concentration at the main square. In Gunkelrode, an idyllic small village, the caravans from Gorleben and Dresden met. There were many visitors from the surrounding areas. This was followed by the longest trip, more than 100 km in one day, accompanied with a storm, at the end of which the caravan arrived to Saasen. They got to Frankfurt the next day at about 14:00, where they entered along with the police. As they entered in the city, they were met by a very warm welcome, which was followed by a demonstration through the city centre with theatre, music and good speakers. After the demonstration they went to Bockenheim, where there was a concert in the evening. The next day the caravan and a group of locals went to a forest that will be destroyed by an expansion of the Frankfurt airport (which is already one of the biggest in the world), where they were met by the police. Finally, the support of locals convinced the police to let them in the forest, where they placed an information stand, and there were speeches about the caravan, the airport expansion, the increasing role of air traffic in trade and the globalization process, etc.

The next station was Darmstadt, where there was a demonstration at the city centre. An oil extracting tower was installed in the pedestrian area, which was used as stage for a street theatre play about the MAI. Later, at dinner, some videos about Chiapas and Gorleben were shown. On the way to Heidelberg the caravan was stopped for a long time by the police. Once in the city, there was a concentration in the centre. In Karlsruhe there was a party in a square that was "cleaned" of homeless people by the municipality. The homeless could return to the square to participate in the party, together with people from all walks of life. There was also a video session about displacement of people. That evening there was a very successful meeting about the MAI, at which the discussions lasted until deep in the night.

The next day the police "joined" the caravan most of the day, and stopped it from approaching a military airport, at which a press conference was supposed to take place, forcing it out of its itinerary. However, the journalists that went to the military base were brought to a lake where the caravan was having a rest, and the press conference could take place. In Freiburg there was a day-long party with information about Gentech in Biovalley (i.e. the concentration of Gentech in the area Strasbourg — Freiburg — Basel), and about homeless people living in roulettes and being kicked out by the municipality. A street was blocked to build up a living room, in order to draw attention to the problem of homelessness. The next day there was more music and information sessions in the city centre.

The next day the Swiss border had to be crossed, which had been a reason for concern for a long time. In order to make the crossing of the border easier, the local group from Basel built up a professional press agency called "synergo media", in order to get as many journalists to the border as possible for the time the caravan crossed it. The strategy was successful: the amount of photographers and TV cameras that went to meet the caravan (along with many people from different Swiss cities) helped to pass the border controls without incidents. Once in Basel, a group of people climbed on the roof of Novartis (the merge of Ciba Geigy and Sandoz, once of the strongest TNCs in the world, specializing on Biotech) to represent a sketch about genetic engineering, after which there was a march through the street.

The next stop was Aarau. The caravan was stopped by the police from entering the city, the reason being that the park where they wanted to sleep was too small for them, but finally the caravan was allowed in the city and camped in the park, where videos were shown. The next day there was a stop at the nuclear power plant of Gösgen, where the streets were painted in a small protest. The same day the headquarters of a mining TNC was visited at Oftringen.

On the way to Bern there was another stop at the women's prison of Hindelbank, where there is a majority of foreign women. There was an action to express solidarity with them, with music and a text in several languages. Then some people shook the prison's wire fence, which was slightly damaged since it was of very low quality. The reaction of the police was quick: several police vans rapidly turned up, but they did not arrest anyone. In Bern there was a bike demonstration in the city centre, followed by a party.

The next day, on the way to Fribourg, a lot of police vans appeared on the road and stopped the caravan. The policemen came out with riot gear, and with equipment for tear gas and rubber-bullet guns. All the bike riders were taken to a place that had been previously prepared by the police, where they took pictures and personal data from everyone. The reason for the detention was "rupture of the peace" and "qualified destruction" of the fence at the women's prison the previous day — which according to them led to several tens of thousand Swiss Francs of damage. The arrested asked what kind of "qualification" was there on a bit of bent fence and why the wire was so expensive, but noone could explain it to them. The police also ignored the requests for medicines, food and covers (the room was rather cold). After a long time, all people were put in vans (separating Swiss from non-Swiss) and brought back to the place where their belongings had been left with some policemen to look after them. There they found out that all their luggage had been registered and several things were missing (e.g. a portable computer), but there was neither an explanation from the police nor a list of the things that had been taken away. The police then drove the non-Swiss to the French border and expelled them from the country. As they tried to get in again, they were informed that they were not allowed to enter the country in two years, and that any attempt to cross the border could be punished with up to 2 years of prison. At that time it was 10 pm, and they were lucky to find a place to stay for the night.

The expelled spent the next day collecting information, writing press releases and planning the next steps, while the Swiss participants of the caravan continued cycling in the direction of Geneva (where they arrived on the 16th just in time for the Street Party). This day the expulsion of part of the caravan out of the country was on the TV news and in most newspapers. The expelled group decided to go through France to the French--Swiss border just beside Geneva, in order to meet the Swiss caravan participants on Sunday. The meeting on the border was really emotive, and was accompanied with a very nice street theatre.

After that encounter the non-Swiss went back to their cities, and most of the Swiss went back to Geneva to participate in the rest of the actions. Many of them were victims of the police irruption at Artamis on the early morning of the 20th, at which the police again stole a lot of personal belongings of the arrested, including several video tapes of the caravan.

The notes on which this report were taken finish with the following sentences: "The caravan and its preparation were exhausting, stressing, chaotic and took a lot of time, effort and time. However we can say that we regret nothing. (...) It was an experience of solidarity and self-organization, of unity and diversity, of hope and strength ... and it was a contrast to the dominant system."




2nd May 1998 — Hundreds of thousands of peasants, agricultural labourers, tribal people and industrial workers from all regions of India took the streets of Hyderabad yesterday to show their rejection of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and neoliberal policies, and to demand the immediate withdrawal of India from the WTO. The rally was organized by the recently launched "Joint Action Forum of Indian People against the WTO and Anti-People Policies" (JAFIP), composed of 50 peoples' movements representing a wide range of regions and social groups.

The demonstration was preceded by a three-days convention in which the JAFIP was officially launched. The convention and rally, convened by a number of Indian peoples' movements, including the Karnataka State Farmers' Association (KRRS), the All-India People's Resistance Forum (AIPRF), the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and others, took place against the backdrop of a growing wave of suicides of peasants, which according to all members of the JAFIP are directly caused by the impact of WTO-imposed policies. It also took place in the context of increasing state violence against peoples' movements all over India. The convention and rally were held in Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh, because of the particularly high rate of suicides and killings in this Southern state, where more than 600 peasant activists have been killed by the Indian army from 1992 to 1998, and more than 400 suicides have taken place in the last five months. The assassination of peoples' movements' activists in Andhra Pradesh was intensified in the weeks leading to the convention, in what amounts to a very clear signal of the way in which the Indian government will deal with peaceful opposition to the WTO.

The convention, attended by more than 900 representatives of peoples' movements, produced the "Declaration of Indian People against the WTO" which states that "We, the people of India, hereby declare that we consider the WTO our brutal enemy. This unaccountable and notoriously undemocratic body called the WTO has the potential not only to suck the sweat and blood of the masses of two-thirds of the world, but has also started destroying our natural habitats and traditional agricultural and other knowledge systems ... converting us into objects of Transnational Corporations' economy of consumerism ... The WTO will kill us unless we kill it". The declaration also targets the national elites: "any struggle against the WTO--IMF--World Bank trinity has to go along a simultaneous struggle against the local ruling classes". Finally, the JAFIP also offers alternatives: "While opposing the WTO, we, the Indian people, have resolved to build a pro-people egalitarian social order through a genuinely democratic process".

This declaration was accompanied by six specific resolutions demanding pro-people agricultural policy, expressing solidarity with other peoples' movements, opposing the invasion of agriculture by multinationals, condemning the repression of peoples' movements, denouncing the wave of suicides of peasants all over India, and expressing the anti-WTO struggle of the Indian working class. All these documents are available at



New Delhi

On April 28th, hundreds of thousands of people from North to South India gathered in New Delhi for a mass rally and public meeting organized under the banner of the National Alliance of People's Movements. The participants included farmers, fishworkers, labourers — living on the natural resources and human power, those facing atrocities and discriminations, displacement and deprivation. Dalits, Tribals, women, minorities gathered close to the Centre of Power to voice their protest against the wrongs of development policies and increased atrocities due to the anti-sovereign agreements and deals with global powers.

This gathering of people's organizations across the country was an Assertion of Will to have the right to the land, water, forest, mineral and aquatic wealth localised in each village community, to have a local eco-socio-economically decentralized planning for equity and sustainability. It also avowedly denounced the World Trade Organization, and propagated indigenous technology, local markets closely linking consumers to producers and simple non-consumerist living for a 'human prosperity'.




Tel Aviv Street Party — Over 500 people walked and danced from Dizengoff Square to the beach, while a van with DJ was driving in front doing the music. The party had a limited permit but since there was a crowd of a few hundreds the police had no choice but to keep the traffic from hurting them. The party ended in a pleasant sunset rave.

The party was part of the struggle against the Trans Israel Highway (road No. 6), the infrastructural backbone of economic integration in the region. Any spray or other action against Hughes, Canadian Highway Inc., or the French bank "Société Générale" which participate in the project, is welcome.

On Sunday 17 May 1998 50 people protested outside the embassy of India against the nuclear tests (as if Israel didn't have nukes!)



A three days national workshop on the "Impact of globalization on agriculture in Nepal" was organized by Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) in Chitwan, Nepal between 18 to 20 May 1998. The objectives of the workshop were to discuss, share and analyse the implications of the globalization process (particularly for the agriculture of Nepal) and the responses of the people's movements, and to develop strategies and take initiatives to start collective actions on the issues of globalization. More than twelve national and international organizations participated along with farmers, bonded labourers, tea plantation workers, teachers etc.

At the workshop it was decided to form a forum called "Globalization concerned group in Nepal" and to publish a bimonthly bulletin in order to disseminate information about the negative impacts of globalization in Nepal. Rural Reconstruction Nepal was given the responsibility to coordinate the activities at the moment.

The workshop concluded with a number of declarations, expressing support and solidarity with all the struggles and movements organized against globalization, expressing commitment to raise awareness of the negative impacts of globalization, expressing rejection towards all the networks created to enhance the process of globalization, etc.

Contact: Sarba Raj Khadka <>


The Kathmandu-based International Institute for Human Rights, Environment and Development (INHURED International), and Rastriya Sarokar Samaj (National Concerns Society), a national campaign platform of actions, organized on May 17 a open public forum in Kathmandu called "Nepal and WTO: What to gain? What to lose?".

Speaking at the forum, some of Nepal's renowned economists, legal, environmental and development experts, as well as the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives, made critical observations about WTO, and several of them strongly opposed the whole concept of WTO and GATT, and asked the Government of Nepal not to rush for its membership. They also criticized the WTO as the most undemocratic institution of this century and demanded the international community to help developing and the least-developed countries, like Nepal, in their struggles for freedom from debt, imperialist globalization and imposition of the most inhuman-profiteering interest of multinational corporations backed by the G8 countries.

The speakers and participants of the forum also expressed their strong solidarity with the tremendous work of the Peoples' Global Action network and the alliance members around the world.

For further information, please contact: Gopal Siwakoti 'Chintan', Executive Director of INHURED International, and General Secretary of Rastriya Sarokar Samaj. P.O. Box 2125, New Plaza, Putalisadak, Kathmandu. Tel: +977-1-429741, Fax: +977-1-419610. E-mail:



One thousand marchers belonging to the fisherfolk movement Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) and the peasant movement Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and their supporters from churches and government employees, staged a protest against new President Joseph Estrada's intentions to sustain and even expand programs that lay peasant and fisherfolk livelihoods open to attack from global market forces. The protest took place at Malacañang Palace on 15 May.

The KMP chair said the march also coincides with similar mobilizations opposing the second Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Geneva. The marchers say that the WTO will further force poorer countries to open their markets to surplus goods from abroad.

The delegates of KMP and Pamalakaya met in Manila to plan how to prevent the new Fisheries Code from being implemented in their villages. The chairman of Pamalakaya said 1.2 million poor fishers like him will continue to lose their catch to about 3,000 registered commercial crafts, while the Code's "flexible policies to attain food security" has allowed cheap imports of "japayuki galunggong" (scad fish from Japan and Korea) to flood the market and further bankrupt local economies.

According to Apole, a Pamalakaya representative, the fisherfolk have no choice but to continue mass actions to pressure the incoming government to junk the Fisheries Code. "We also demand from the next administration the abrogation of treaties signed with the World Trade Organization, APEC and BIMP-EAGA, in order to reorient our food production and market to feed the Filipino people and not aristocrats abroad," Apole said.

Sri Lanka

Excerpts of the Solidarity Message from People's Organizations:

We, several People's Organizations fighting against WTO, GATT & "Free Trade" in Sri Lanka, are sending you our greetings of solidarity with the People's Global Action activities taking place in Geneva and throughout the world, these days. As a country that has already suffered tremendously under the Globalization processes, imposed by the powers of international capital, we protest against the massive destruction caused by these processes imposed upon millions of people in our country and throughout the world.

In Sri Lanka all sectors ... have been constantly protesting and struggling against the detrimental effects of the above process, which is seen by many as nothing other than "recolonization". (...) Acceptance of GATT, WTO, SAPTA & Intellectual Property Rights Agreements readily by the government would lead to further destruction of domestic agriculture, natural resources, food security and the right of communities to their cultural heritage. (...)

We have already published some of the information on the activities taking place in various countries to oppose the moves taken by the WTO. We will soon be circulating the Draft Manifesto of the People's Global Action, translated into local languages, for study and discussion by the active groups in Sri Lanka. (...)

We share in your confidence that these recolonization attempts will be defeated and the survival of millions of people endangered by it, both in developing as well as in develop countries, will be assured. (...) We wish you faith, strength and success!

Contact: (MONLAR)



In the evening of the 20th of May there was a demonstration in the city of Vienna, Austria, against neoliberalism, the MAI and the WTO. More than one thousand people from different social and ecological organizations took part. The objective of the demonstration was to send a clear message to the WTO: we will not allow economic globalization to destroy our environment, our culture, our future, our lives.



The first ever Reclaim the Streets Party in Belgium took place on Wednesday the 13th of May, thus before the days of action since it was not possible to organize it in that period, but it was an act of solidarity against globalization.

About 250 people met at 4 pm in Leuven, a small city. The number of people was rather high, considering that these were working hours. The party took place at a rather busy but narrow road in the centre. The police didn't expect anything, so when they finally arrived after half an hour, they didn't know what to do. At 6:15 pm they led asked the organizers to move the party to a park, where the party continued until 9 pm.

Czech Republic

On Saturday the 16th of May over 3000 people joined the first Street Party in Prague. They blocked the city's main road with 30 drums, a puppet show, fire performance 4 sound systems and 20 DJs. At the beginning the party went well, but the problems started when the police tried to stop the march by using truncheons without asking people to disperse. The next incident happened when a police car drove into the crowd at high speed: it was turned upside down but the policemen inside were not attacked.

The march was later dissolved by the organizers in front of the town hall. However, 300 people continued marching into the city centre, and a small group of them (about 30) broke the shop windows of Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, a butcher's and a fashion shop (whose owner supports fascist organizations). The police started to act about 9 pm, when the destruction of shop windows was over. The police attack was really brutal, and it took place so late that no "radicals" were present at that time. 64 people were detained, 22 of them younger than 18. All the arrested were beaten up, mistreated and humiliated until morning hours. Injured people were taken to the hospital, where the beating continued even in presence of medical staff. 25 people were accused of criminal offences and 10 of them (most of them about 18 years old) were kept 14 days in jail, where they were beaten so much that the police interdicted any contact with visitors or the media. All human rights organizations in the Czech republic have denounced the human rights violations linked with the detentions, but the responsible institutions and the minister for inner affairs still claim that the police intervention was adequate.

It is evident that people were not arrested and beaten because of committing any crime (which would also be inadmissible) but for political reasons. State institutions reacted by proposing to create a special police commando against this kind of demonstrations with 500 specially trained agents.

Slavomír Tesárek, spokesman of Rainbow Keepers Czech Republic and one of the organizers of the Street Party, was arrested on the 26th of May, accused of destroying the billboard with the portrait of Miroslav Sládek (leader of the racist and fascist Republican Party). He was arrested for 30 hours, precisely at the time when he had to participate in a TV programme. He was released thanks to the intervention of NGOs, the Czech TV and some prominent personalities. Now he is in trial and might have to spend two years to prison.

The organizers of the party ask you to organize actions in front of the Czech embassies, and to inform NGOs and the public about their situation.

More information: (Slavomír Tesárek), P.O. Box 587, 170 06, Prague 7, Czech republic


On May 15 the Estonian Green Movement organized an action in the centre of Tallinn. Around 50 persons gathered for a "happening" next to a 6 lane urban road. 25 persons laid down to the sidewalk and were covered with white blankets. As soon as the first person was covered the cars slowed down (although the road was not being blocked), thinking that it was a real corpse. The 25 people were lying for some minutes in the memory of those dead in an unequal traffic system.



In Helsinki the WTO agreement was burnt on the 19th of May in front of the government house. There were not many people, since it was just a symbolic action and not an announced demonstration. One newspaper, one radio and one TV station were there and reported the action.



Turku Street Party, 16 May — At noon, about 400 people gathered in both meeting points, one at Gabriel Porthan's park, another near railway station. Both of them walked drumming to the point where the party took place: one of the main bridges over the river, in the city centre. According to the organizers, it was the best party ever in Finland: there wasn't one cloud in the sky and there was no trouble with the police. They said "we have no problem with your illegal demo, but please a bit less volume" and that was done. Around 5 pm there were about 750 people, people were coming and going all the time, amounting a total of about 2000 participants during the whole day. The party finished at 8 pm.


Lyon Street Party went well, with 200 people, lots of crazy anti-corporate costumes and signs, a few dogs and bikes, several drums and whistles, and even a float. The party briefly joined a demonstration against the ongoing extraditions of Algerians, it passed through a flock of exotic feathered and bikini-ed dancers on a pedestrian street for the concurrent World Cup events, and later a tripod was put up and the street blocked under the gigantic Crédit Lyonnais Tower. That prevented people from getting to a major car park of the Part-Dieu shopping mall and especially its Carrefour supermarket — until loads of police officers looking quite serious started approaching the party and it was decided to make like fromage and scram. It moved to a square/outdoor amphitheatre that's directly under the CL Tower, splashed around in a fountain on this very hot day, unloaded food and drink from a couple bike trailers, and hung out in the shade for an hour or two.


Berlin Street Party, 16th of May — The party took place on a road crossing in the centre of Berlin, 150 meters from Alexanderplatz (main square of East Berlin). About 1000 people took part in the party, despite the fact that it was not announced in order to avoid problems with the police. A huge sound system and a big drum group made the music, and people brought more drums, covered the streets with chairs and other furniture, danced, played volleyball, chess, etc. The party was really successful, the participants enjoyed it very much and now many people are encouraged to organize the next one.

We had almost no problems with the police: "only" 3 people arrested and a handful of people were hit by policemen. The reason for such a lack of repression was probably the fact that the police was not prepared (since the party had not been announced). Besides that, the media had reported a lot about the violence used by the police on the previous 1st of May demonstration in Berlin.

The Netherlands

The Hague

On Wednesday afternoon the 20th of may activists of the Dutch group "MAI niet gezien!" ("MAI not seen! / MAI not for me!") have chained themselves in front of the Department of Economic Affairs in the Hague, blocking the main entrance of the building for a couple of hours. The blockade was a protest against undemocratic institutions and treaties like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI).

Activists of "MAI niet gezien!" have been campaigning against the MAI treaty since January 1998. There has been an information tour in more than 20 cities in the Netherlands in February, March and April, an occupation in the Department of Economic Affairs in February, and an action in the Dutch parliament in April. Furthermore there have been local street protests in more than 20 cities during the international action week in the end of april. Activists of "MAI niet gezien!" share the hallmarks of the Peoples' Global Action and clearly reject all treaties and institutions which are meant to enforce the "free" trade of globally operating corporations all over the world.


Utrecht Street Party (May 16th) — For five hours a wild dance party of more than 800 blockaded a six lane highway close to the train station. The demonstration at a certain point decided not to follow the rest of the announced route, and placed barricades to stay at that spot. At 20:15 the dancing crowd left the street and went to a nearby park where the party ended in high spirits. The behaviour of the police was a great surprise; earlier street parties in Amsterdam were confronted with an aggressive zero-tolerance attitude. In Utrecht, in contrast, they mingled with the crowd at the meeting point, sat on the pavement waiting for the sound system to arrive — and when it arrived they assisted in getting the generator going!


On the 20th of may the Student Revolution Committee and the Chiapas Committee took part in a large meeting (near 10 000) in Voronezh against the privatization of high school. They distributed a lot of leaflets against the WTO, multinational corporation and corporate products. Also, a press conference against WTO and corporate rule took place on the 30th of May.

Contact: or war@horror.vrn[.ru


Critical Mass in Ljubljana — Around 40 people with their bikes, inline skates, wheelchairs or on foot had a jolly good time biking around the city centre. The weather was really nice and, amazingly, there was no bigger hassles with the police — a really nice surprise, especially considering the aggressive repression that took place against the Critical Mass action in 1996. The next two protests are already planned for 20th of June and 10th of July, with a promise of being even more colourful, funny and loud.

Spanish state

Avilés, Asturies

Action against the TNC DuPont, 20 May — 30 persons from the Asturian Ecologists' Coordination, the Aviles Ecologists' Collective and the Asturian Assembly against the WTO (Tracamundiu) tried to block the downloading of containers with hazardous material that arrive everyday to the Aviles containers' station in order to be used in the DuPont factory.

It was not possible to block the containers because the train that transported them, which arrives everyday at 6:00 pm, was stopped in another train station due to the presence of activists. In view of this, two activists climbed on other containers and opened two banners, one against the pesticide factory that DuPont wants to build 6 km away from the station where the action took place, and a second one against TNCs and globalization. This action made impossible for DuPont to transport the containers with hazardous chemicals to the factory where they are used in production.

Contact: e-mail: and

Barcelona, Catalunya

A women's anti-Maastricht and anti-WTO group in Barcelona called "Divergent Women" (Mujeres Divergentes) distributed leaflets and information in schools and urban neighbourhood about the facts that have been silenced by governments — the consequences on women and disfavoured people — specially from the South — of free trade treaties. The dominant media of course silenced the action, but this will not stop this kind of actions to continue.

Durango, Bizkaia

The local groups of the Assembly against the High Speed Train and the anti-militarist group made a little action against the WTO on the 16th of May. This action consisted on sticking a 5-meter banner on the building of the multinational Iberdrola in Durango, with the text "Iberdrola, BBV, Telefonica and the other multinationals destroying the world" and with a drawing of a bleeding South America being squeezed by a hand that wears a shirt with the symbol of the Euro and the logos of several TNCs (Iberdrola, BBV, Telefonica, Gamesa and Shell).

Telefonica is the Spanish telecom, which is already privatized. It has purchased several telecom companies in Latin America, and was object of a popular boycott in several countries and punished by the Highest Court of Argentina due to the abusive increase of prices (about 70%).

Iberdrola is the electricity company of the Basque Country and the North of Spain, owner of nuclear power plants. It has acquired a "strong position" in Latin America buying national power companies or a big percentage of their shares in several countries.

BBV is one of the strongest financial corporations in the country. Together with Iberdrola it created the holding IBV, which groups many industries, including some arms manufacturers.

Gamesa is a powerful industrial enterprise, but it has few factories since most of its production is subcontracted to other firms. Its biggest shareholder is IBV. Its biggest share of income comes from the manufacture of armament and aircrafts. Its most symbolic product is the European War Aeroplane EF-2000. It has contractual arrangements with the Brazilian Aeronautic Enterprise and with Bombardier.

Iruña (Pamplona), Nafarroa

On Sunday 16th of May at 11:00 am, a bicycle march called upon by 25 different organizations started, visiting the commercial and economic centres which represent the economic oppression caused by global capital (banks, temporary work offices, insurance and construction companies, etc). In each of these centres the march stopped and the participants painted messages on the building's main walls, threw stinking liquid and put up stickers on the wall with the message "there is nothing to celebrate". The march proceeded peacefully; the activists were dressed up, had balloons all over the place and sang little songs against the WTO. The police gave problems sometimes and some of the activists had to identify themselves. The police unsuccessfully tried to follow the activists and failed because of the disruption of traffic created by the march. At the same time, another group of activists put up stickers in the bank cash points with the message: "This cash point will be out of service today because of the 50th anniversary of the World Trade Organization".

The march finished at the Castillo Square, where a public denunciation act took place in front of about 100 pedestrians, consisting on a symbolic burning of the final act of the Uruguay Round while some communiqués on the issue were read aloud. At 14:30 an anti-transgenic meal was offered at the "gaztetxe de Iruña" (squatted social centre) at the same time as a local exchange market was taking place. At 19:30 a street party begun with djembe and fireworks which went from the "gaztetxe" through the old town to finish in a street that was closed to traffic in order to transform it into a surprise party. Throughout the whole night, there was a huge Euro coin made out of gummy that disturbed people all over the place, went into bars crashing on people, etc.

The "Eguzki Irratia" free radio followed exhaustively the activities that were taking place not only in Iruña but also in Geneva and the rest of the world.

Lugo — Galiza

On Wednesday the 20th of May a concentration took place in the main square of Lugo to show rejection against the WTO. Most of the people were young, but there was also some elderly people. A manifesto was read and distributed to all the journalists that were present, and then the Final Act of the Uruguay Round was burned with a fair traded candle made in Soweto (South Africa) by the cooperative "Ukukanhya" (Light in Darkness). The act finished with two songs and a dance.

The action was reported in two local newspapers and the two local television channels, and also generated some radio interviews. Since the action was prepared in the last minute, it was a nice surprise to see the amount of people who attended it and the good media coverage that it received. The main image was the burning of the final act.


Sevilla, Andalucía

In Sevilla the Network of Struggles against Neoliberalism organized a concentration at the door of the Bank of Spain on Friday the 15th at 14:00. In the concentration we distributed a leaflet with a summary of the PGA manifesto which we called "For Humanity, against the Dictatorship of Money". Members of different organizations participated in this concentration, the ones represented in the network of struggles: Entrepueblos, the Human Rights Association of Andalucia, trade unions (SOC, CGT, USTEA), anti-militarists, the Zapatista Committee, squatters, the Redundants' Assembly, etc. Several banners were put up and all the leaflets were distributed. The concentration lasted until about 16:00.


València, País Valencià

In Valencia about 300 people reclaimed the streets on the 16th of May. First we took the market square, in the traffic-polluted heart of the city. But this only lasted for half an hour, because the police isn't a body which is made to dance. So we decided to move through the streets, blocking some main streets for a while. Later on the party turned to the centre, where there are less cars and more people. We joined some people playing drums in a kind of medieval market, turning the place into a big party with a magic moments. Finally we visited the Virgin at the place of the cathedral, who certainly didn't expect us and therefore didn't join the dance. In spite of this we offered a very nice sunny show till later the night, passed eleven o'clock, reclaiming the street for about five hours. The police had to wait for us and was following us every where, but kept surprisingly quiet all the time. This was the first street party in Valencia, but surely won't be the last.


On the 16 of June there was a mixture of demonstration and street party in Stockholm, with carnival drums and beautiful flags. It really was a wonderful demonstration, and hopefully next year it will be even bigger. On the same day there was a Street Party at Göteborg with about one hundred participants.

United Kingdom


Birmingham Street Party: When the polite but impassioned plea of the 50 000 debt relief human chainers had subsided, an altogether wilder and less conciliatory note began to be heard from the region of New Street Station, as pulses sped and sweating clowns were spotted making ready to laugh in the face of the G8 in the adrenalised melee. Then suddenly at 4.30 the crowd (by now about 8 000) felt a tug towards the waiting road, and the reclamatory hordes poured onto the Bull Ring roundabout. Eventually we laid claim to half the circle and got down to the party. A bangin' techno sound system provided the bulk of the entertainment while at the fringes fire was eaten and odd passages of unamplified music were heard occasionally. A second system and various other props couldn't make it through the police lines. There was a huge police presence throughout the day, often 3 or 4 lines deep. Nifty lamppost scalers had soon decorated and contextualised the space with banners reading 'Protest is Hope' (underneath the G8 Joker), 'Beneath the Tarmac the Grass', a huge red kitelike masterpiece with floating yellow tassels bearing the names of all the global street parties, and of course not forgetting that old favourite: 'Reclaim the Streets'. Other banners, like 'Local Vibes Not Global Lies' for instance, didn't make it up. When twenty policemen moved in apparently to remove the sound system they found more resistance than their superior officer had obviously expected, and beat a hasty retreat.

As dusk began to fall the party continued full pelt (as it were), some determined to have a good time in their temporary autonomous zone, others equally determined to have 'discussions' with by now riot geared-up law enforcement types. A white car abandoned hours before became the object of some fairly intense scrutiny, so intense in fact that it ended up on its back. When it came time to depart for pastures new (ie. a local club), our seasoned diplomats negotiated with the police, the result being the safe passage out of the sound system. Thus the blessed system was slowly escorted off site and across town by over a 1000 people, all the way to the pre-arranged after-party party venue.

Press coverage was, needless to say, only concerned with occasional outbreaks of conflict with the police, and chose to ignore the significance of the days' conclusive acts of transnational resistance clear across the planet.


York Street Party: about 250 people turned up. It was a fairly quiet street that was taken. The police didn't seem particularly bothered that it was happening at all: only about 5 of them turned up all day (in total contrast to Leeds RTS the week before when the tripods got confiscated). Loads of musicians turned up and the afternoon was mainly spent with celidhs, drum circles and various other jams. There was a small pedal powered sound system that some people had managed to rig together just in the few days before the street party. It all finished well, and then we went down to the river for a party till dawn ...


Latin America


In Brazil the "star" march from the four cardinal points of the country converged on the 20th of May in the capital of the country, Brasília, its final destiny. The march, that brought together around 50.000 people from all over the country, was called by CUT (Central Union of Workers), CMP (Central of Popular Movements), CONTAG (Agriculture Worker's Confederation) CNBB (National Conference Bishops in Brazil), The National Forum of Education and the MST (Movement of Landless People). As the march entered in the capital, in the North-East of the country the MST and its numerous followers continued attacking supermarkets and commercial and government food stores, showing society and politicians that 40 million Brazilians suffer from hunger. José Rainha Junior, one or the leaders of MST said on Monday in Salvador da Bahia that "Where there are people who die of hunger, the MST will be at their side".

Antonio Carlos Magalhaes, the interim president, tried to arrest the leaders of the MST because of the supermarket looting. But the Brazilian court of justice did not fulfil his desire. Jaime Amorim, one of the leaders of MST in the North-East said after the reaction of the court that "society has finally understood the reality of hunger and drought in the region". From now on, he continued — "the MST will work with different unions of rural workers and the catholic church. It will organize discussions with the cities inhabitant suffering from droughts and invite them to take part in the manifestations called THE CRY OF THE EXCLUDED on September the 6th." The MST also continues occupying big landlord's estates — 2 haciendas were recently occupied in the state of Pernambuco.

Benedito Roberto Barbosa from the Union of Housing Movements of São Paulo said: "The camping in front of the supermarkets will continue in this city to denounce the situation of the poor and the homeless. In Brazil there are more than 40 million brothers suffering from hunger."

During the Geneva WTO conference, the economist João Pedro Stedile, one of the principal leaders of MST, said in Vienna that "the financial markets govern our country, along with the rural oligarchy and the industrial capitalists". He also gave an advice to the investors: "do not invest in Brazil anymore because you will lose your money as sooner or later the people will reclaim their country." Gilberto Portes de Oliviera, representative of the MST in the anti-WTO demonstration that took place in Geneva on the 16th of May, declared "The mobilizations in Brazil are the logical response of peasants and workers against the policies imposed by the WTO. These policies are being readily implemented by the Brazilian government, and as a result, the social polarization is growing rapidly. This is why the social struggle is becoming increasingly necessary".

Contact: Mr. Ramos, tel. +55-61-3182271.

Chile (and other countries)

Following the call for action of the PGA, the Chilean Action Network for Peoples' Initiative (RECHIP) organized a virtual forum on the WTO and the AMI, according to the design set at the American Peoples' summit.

A large number of people from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, United States and Canada have participated in this forum. There was also participation from Japan and South Korea. Unions, environmental organizations, religious organizations, and youth groups took part in the forum; their documents can be found at

We are making a summary based on the documentation received, which will be sent to all participants and also to the chancellery.



On the 9th of June a performance took place in the Constitution's Square, in the centre of Mexico City. The performance had the objective of protesting against neoliberal policy and informing people of the events taking place in the rest of the world. Contact. (Biblioteca Social Reconstruir)

North America



The Operation SalAMI, a non-violent direct action to resist the MAI and the agenda of big capital, unfolded in Montreal on May, reaching its peak on the 24th.

Why SalAMI? AMI (Accord multilatéral sur les investissements) is the French acronym for MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment). "Sal" means bad or dirty. Hence, "Salami" means "dirty little MAI." It has the alternative meaning of "no good friend."

The main action consisted on a blockade of the "Conference de Montreal on Globalized Economies" at the Sheraton Center Hotel. The Conference de Montreal (May 25--27) is an annual gathering of the political and corporate elite. Of particular interest was the presence of Donald Johnston, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) at which the MAI has been negotiated in secret since 1996. This year's guest list also included the far-right Governor of New York, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, representatives of the US Department of State and the Deutsche Bank Group as well as senior executives of Bombardier, the Royal Bank and other multinationals.

On the first day of the conference, the entrances of the Sheraton Center Hotel were blocked by more than 100 protestors. At 10:20 the police proceeded to arrest activists involved in the blockade. As of noon, about 30 people had been arrested and a few have been released. That left another 80 to maintain the blockade. The activists kept arriving in waves and managed to maintain the blockade until 2 pm. At that point the attrition due to arrests made the blockaders too thin on the ground and the blockade was lifted. At that point, the demo moved a few blocks south to the police station where the hundred were being held. There, a UK citizen was arrested for not having moved when he was told. Of course he was given the order in French and was heard protesting, "I didn't understand the order" as he was dragged away.

A hot point in the action came when the riot police advanced on the crowd to clear them from the street, only to find that they had sandwiched twenty camera-wielding journalists between their shields and the militants. Not the best way to keep your brutality from being noticed.

Although the protest is non-violent, the police has not been so gentle. Several protestors have been roughed up during their arrests.

Still, many people said that this is the best demo they've ever been too. The crowd was full of life with constant singing, chanting and dancing.

On the 27th over 1.000 people demonstrated at the "Bye-bye Conference de Montreal" parade.

Operation SalAMI was launched officially on May 1st, with a street party outside the Montreal Stock Exchange (in conjunction with a similar party in Paris). For the last month or so, the organizers of Operation SalAMI have conducted an awareness-raising campaign in Montreal and beyond about the MAI and its agenda, culminating in an alternative conference entitled "The Globalization of Injustice: Resistance and Alternatives" that took place on the 22--23 of May at the University.

Contact: Operation SalAMI — P.O.Box 282, Station E. Montréal H2T 2A7. tel: (514) 982-6606, ext. 2236, fax: (514) 982-6122. E-mail: Web:


On the 20th of May commuters into the city of Ottawa were met by huge banners declaring "World Trade Organization — Global Government for the Rich" along with banners drawing attention to Chiapas and the MAI. Traffic was slowed down to a crawl creating a rather large traffic jam. Police and Ministry of Transportation officials rushed to the scene (although not quite as quickly as they would wish, as they got tied up in traffic!). Public response and local media coverage was very positive.

At noon, 100 demonstrators played a game of global soccer in front of the Royal Bank (one of the largest in the country and a strong proponent of corporate globalism). Men in suits representing business, politicians and the WTO kicked a globe of the earth around while refusing to let anyone else play. "That's what's happening at the WTO — men in suits are players in the game of international capital — using the world and the fate of millions of people around the world as their soccer ball", said one of the organizers. Speakers included refugees from Guatemala and East Timor. There was a broad media coverage (including national networks) and good response from the public. Over 2000 leaflets were distributed to citizens. The action was held in a very popular area known as Sparks Street Mall, and provoked much police presence. The bank was locked up during the action for fear that the demonstrators were planning to take it over.


Toronto street party (May 16th) — About eight hundred people took over Bloor Street, one of the busiest in town, with puppets, street theatre and play, children drawing chalk pictures on the street, lots of drumming and dancing. From 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. the party was a fantastic experience for the participants. However, before that march started, the police started to turn up the volume on their intimidation tactics. They started to harass people sitting on the street, and went wild cutting the rainbow web of fabric ropes tied across the streets, stomping balloons, pushing people out of the way and threatening to arrest people who interfered with them, with the clear intent of shutting down the street party.

One person was arrested, and the crowd was divided as some drifted away and some marched on side streets to Christie Pits, while the rest stayed. At this point the police became more confrontational, including riding a horse directly at one of the protesters who was filming the scene. Finally, the police opened their blockade of the street, and the march could continue in direction to the Pits. Several people sat down at Pits in the roadway, reminding the police that the demonstration was peaceful but that the streets were for everyone. Two more street-reclaimers were arrested at this point; one of them described the detention as follows: "Officers came over to me, ordered me off the street, and when I said something along the lines of "I'd rather be arrested than give up my right to protest", promptly arrested me. I was told I was being charged with unlawful assembly. This means that sitting in the road has resulted in a charge that could end up in a jail term of up to 6 months and a fine of $2,000."

About 60 protesters marched to the local police headquarters to support the arrested reclaimers and call for their release. One more person was arrested during the march. At the trial on Sunday the 17th, one of the detainees could be seen in rough shape, with his arm in a cast.

For more information contact TASC at (++1) 416-651-5800 or <>

Other actions

In Orangeville, a small town in Ontario, a group of workers confronted the office of their parliamentary representative.

In Winnipeg, 200 hundred marched through the streets, including the main intersection. They eventually wound up at the Forks, the local market, where a demonstration was held.

In Regina, Saskatchewan 100 demonstrators, including sixty postal workers, blockaded the Royal Bank.

For information about actions in Canada call Catherine Louli at (+1) 730-1386 or cell (+1) 850-7488; or Kerry Pither at (+1) 230-4070.

The United States


On the 18th of May, 14 activists went to Headwaters Forest (in the North-Western corner of California), property of Pacific Lumber Corporation, to support efforts to hinder the logging operations by stopping the work and supplying water and food to a group of tree-sitters. They were met by a bulldozer driver pushing a massive redwood log toward them down the road. The loggers decided to please their bosses by citizen-arresting the protesters, and forgot their work for some hours. The protesters, not wishing to risk violence by resisting, made the most of the occasion: they let themselves be arrested and had lively conversations during the hours of non-logging and non-roadbuilding that passed until the county sheriff's deputies arrived. The officers were reasonable and friendly, and hauled only two protesters away. One member of the group surreptitiously split off to successfully resupply the tree-sitters.


Berkeley Street Party took place on the 16th of May in Telegraph Avenue, which has a tremendous history of civil unrest — from the birth of People's Park in 1969 (where police shot protesters and killed one) to the "Reclaim the Earth — Compost in the Streets" action on Independence Day 1995 (officially a celebration of war). The crowd of perhaps 300--500 took to the streets with flags with bicycles, tremendous banners ("Take back our Lives/Reclaim the Streets") and all manner of colourful costumes were to be seen. They pushed couches and chairs and carried carpets with them. The energetic atmosphere was exquisite and empowering. The couches finally came to rest at Telegraph Ave, and the hand-painted twister games were splayed out upon the asphalt, and the chalk and the spray-paint emerged, and boxes of juices and other food was distributed by Food Not Bombs. A DJ was present, with a legitimate permit to be a mobile sound system. Walking from one quadrant of the intersection to another was like walking through the tents at a carnival.

While dancing filled one street, down another an automobile (donated to the party) was being symbolically smashed to bits, individual frustrations at the domination of society and the planet by the motorcar being expressed. At the same time some participants rushed to demolish television sets in the centre of the intersection. Through it all, a tree apparently found in the trash (a common sight in Berkeley) was brought to the intersection and erected beside a trashy advert's newsrack, which a bicycle was subsequently leaned against. The crowd had swelled to perhaps seven hundred or more. A theatrical fire show erupted on the dark street downhill from the dancing and burning.

As the evening drew to a close, the police slowly encroached on the free space, seizing the couches, overrunning and uprooting a circle of women singing at their feet. The crowd thinned and the playground was dumpstered. Now large police walls boxed in the party at two ends. Police created and escalated confrontations by pushing and shoving the peaceful crowd. It must be said that through the night bottles were thrown at police on several occasions. Sadly, the only known arrests of the evening were four black youths — not surprising in a country where social apartheid is sustained by racist repression. One shop window was smashed, either by a police baton or a bottle thrown, after the police began shoving peaceful people. Berkeley/Bay Area RTS has already contacted the owner of the shop to reassure them that a benefit will be held to help pay for the damages.

But the realities of the true destruction, the slow-motion riot of the normal street, harassed by police, and marked by poverty and eating from dumpsters, were not forgotten. "They're going to crack down on all the kids on the Ave for the next week to get revenge," said one young woman. "I'm going to hide."

But the feeling had not ebbed. The streets were ours.


The End Corporate Dominance Conference was held in Portland, Oregon, on May 29--31. It was very successful; about 600 people participated, mainly from the USA but also from Canada and Mexico. The Art & Revolution Parade against Corporate Rule was also quite successful, despite the best attempts of Portland Police to boycott it. They arrested four people for 'disorderly conduct', which apparently now includes crossing the street outside of the crosswalk.

For more information and conference statement please contact: Bicycle Transportation Alliance <>



On Wed 22 April morning, the Hikoi — a march by indigenous Maori from Northland down to parliament in Wellington to oppose the Multilateral Agreement on Investment — crossed the Harbour bridge in Auckland. Several arrest vans quickly arrived and people were put in, but one person we saw be held down on the ground quite vigorously for quite some time before he was hauled off. Several people were dragged from cars to be arrested, some vehicles were searched, and a 13 year-old boy put in a police van.

Once on the other side, at the end of the Ponsonby off-ramp people once again collected, along with the police and the vans of arrested people. There was a lot of emotion about the police's heavy-handedness, and the arrest of the 13 year-old, who was subsequently released. A kaumatua (Maori elder) gave a speech about the situation and how the Hikoi was to continue, followed by a short prayer, and the Hikoi continued up to Ponsonby Road, then down into central Auckland and down Queen Street, the city's main shopping precinct (and with recently restored electricity!). They spent the night at an Auckland Marae and intend to continue on the journey to Wellington, the capital city, about 600 kilometres away.




Brisbane Street Party (16 May) — Loads of police tried to stop the party from happening, arresting lots of people in front of the cameras of several television channels. It took the police approx. 1 hour to turn off the sound system. This was followed by more than 2 hours of drumming and whistling. A small but effervescent crowd partied till dark and then went home. According to the organizers, "The passion and excitement were incredibly present and the interference from police may have been irritating and unnecessary but it will never deter us from future events."


Sydney street party (16th May) went off like a dream, a resounding success that everyone described as the best party ever. As the crowd gathered from 1 pm in Belmore Park, speakers gave updates on the burning issues of the NSW Forests Campaign, Jabiluka Uranium Mine, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and the global dimensions of the RTS movement — and the RTS Art Department festooned the crowd with a colourful array of banners, placards and assorted adornments. Estimates of numbers on the 2 km march to the site range from 2000 to 4000, by far the biggest RTS/climate/globalization protest seen in Sydney. In a futile, misguided and potentially hazardous attempt to maintain some sense of self-worth and authority, the coppers tried to keep us to one of the three lanes, but gave up on this idea before too long, and the parade went on.

The Logistics Crew installed the Rock Stage, Central Techno Sound Tower and Hip-Hop/Reggae/Dub sound stages, and the party began in earnest. Orange and Black bamboo tripods marked out each end of the reclaimed space. Out spread the carpets and sofas in the lounge space, three chai stalls, food fundraiser, skateboard skate rail, a five terminal sidewalk internet station, two sandstone sculptors, poets, fire twirlers, street gardeners, recycling and rubbish bins ...

Apart from an exceedingly irate restaurateur who closed down and roamed around for over an hour and a half looking for something to hit, everything was cool, smooth and unfolded as envisioned. An ambulance passed through the emergency access lane through the site late in the piece, people melting quickly to the sides. Cops were almost totally chilled, despite a few attempts from some of the lower rank to assert their authority. No arrests, no hassles, smooth pack down. So if the coppers try and bring the batons out on you, why not ask them why Sydney police doesn't see it necessary to do it?

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