Major Human Rights and Free Speech Violations in Davos, Switzerland
Sun, 28 Jan 2001

I'm not sure where to start with this as more about this will be pouring out over the next few days and weeks. I'll link to a few articles up right now and pick out some quotes.

AFP: Swiss Condemn Police Crackdown on Davos Protests

"Police mobilization like in a dictatorship" ran the headline in the German-language weekly Sonntagsblick, the day after used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a demonstration in Zurich, and imposed tight security to prevent protests in Davos.

Among intellectuals, sociologist Jean Ziegler denounced in an open letter to the government "the shameful face of the Swiss," while the socialists took an even harder line.

"I wouldn't have believed that possible in Switzerland. The police have trampled on state law," Franco Cavalli, head of the Socialist Party in parliament, said in an interview in Sonntagsblick.

The police defended its actions, saying they used "moderate, exemplary intervention."

However, in a Sonntagsblick editorial, Frank Meyer blamed politicians: "The police would not have been able to play this game, if politicians respectful of democracy and their responsibilities had taken things in hand."

Meyer said "the police force coup had inflicted more damage on the global salon" of WEF founder Klaus Schwab than the anti-globalization protestors had dreamed of with their demonstrations.

"If it was damage to private party that one wanted to spare, I wonder: 3,000 men (police and army) during five days, that makes 10 million Swiss francs (six million euros, 5.5 million dollars), without counting additional expenses," wrote editorialist Gerard Delanoye.

NGOs threaten Forum withdrawal

(This is from one of the heads of the World Economic Forum (WEF)) The managing director of the Forum, Claude Smadja, was at the briefing to answer its critics and said the organisation would not be pushed into giving any group equal representation.

"We invite whoever *we believe is relevant* to open dialogue. We are not the United Nations, we are a *private organisation*," Smadja said.

Smadja said the security operation had become a logistical nightmare in recent years and backed the Swiss government's decision to 'ban demonstrations' for the Forum's duration.

He said peaceful protesters had become a front for violence.

"Whatever their good intentions and good faith, they have become convenient covers for professional trouble-makers."

Condemnation of Swiss Police Pour in from Major Media, Civil Society

"Many people were shocked to learn that the police were planning to use 'liquid manure' on protesters. In fact, the police were unable to obtain the substance - which could be classified as biological warfare material posing severe health hazards - because Swiss farmers would not give any to the police and criticezed the idea of using manure on protesters as crazy."

From an news release prior to Saturday's demonstrations

“No decision has been made. Police are reviewing various means that could be used, for example rubber shotgun pellets or tear gas or water or manure,” cantonal police spokesman Alois Hafner told Reuters.


WEF Davos 2001 | WEF NYC 2002 | PGA