May 20th, 1998

4th international PRESS RELEASE


Peoples' Global Action

The last day of the Second Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, the protests against the WTO and Neoliberalism continued all over the World:

For the non-violent activists of Peoples' Global Action it's been too easy today to demonstrate, from which side the violence comes from: On their knees they tried to enter the WTO-conference. They even raised their hands. But still many of them were hurt badly. Some were arrested. Among them Sergio Hernandez, a well-known activist from PGA, who didn't leave the authorized zone. So it has to be supposed they wanted to arrest him especially.

In a briefing of the press just before this action several representatives of grassroots movements all over the world pointed out what 50 years of GATT and WTO meant to them. "We don't have any transnationals in Africa", said Paulo Cuinica from the Organisation of Mutual Help from Mozambique. They want to use Africa only for its ressources. So we don't have anything to celebrate."

Yesterday evening 2000 walked gaged and hand-cuffed through Geneva to demonstrate they have no voice within this world order. On the Rousseau Island we celebrated a symbolic funeral to show our respect towards the victims of an economic war that treats people like merchandise.

People walking through Geneva are picked up by the police if there is any suspicion that they might have taken part in any of the demonstrations. This means that anybody looking either young or foreign or according to the wim of the police can be arrested. This is done using physical and psychological violence. The police has declared having made 200 such arrests. PGA is going to send a report.

In Brasilia 40 000 jobless, landless and homeless people from all Brasilian states have arrived in the capital during the last days. They setled at the Esplanda de los Ministerios, occupied public buildings and did a number of public acts in support of employment and housing. Today they are demonstrating in the governmental district of Brasilia. In front of the National Congress they are denouncing the misapropiatioin of ressources by the rich. Benedicto Roberto Barbosa from the Movement of Housing Union said: "They will continue camping in front of the supermarkets to denounce the situation the poor and the homeless are in. In Brasil there are more then 40 million brothers and sisters suffering of hunger. That is the reason why we will mobilize millions of people and demand respect from the president and solidarity from society".

In Canada demonstrations, including direct actions, are going on in various places: In Halifax, Jooa Slotia, Winnepeg, Manitoba, Ottawa, Ontario, Regina and Saskatchewan. These protests are carried out by students, aboriginals, trade unions, churches, immigrants and poverty organisations.

In the Ukrain in Kiev people are resisting the implementation of the States energy policies, which are being pushed forward without consulting the people, although they are the ones bearing the brunt of the consequences of the nuclear disaster that Chernobyl was.

Since the First of May nearly a million people from all social sectors (farmers, indigenous peoples, workers, women, ethnical groups, unemployed and others) are expressing our rejection of the multilateral trade system and neoliberal policies - participating in the first international days of action of Peoples' Global Action (PGA) against “Free” Trade and the WTO.

Peoples' Global Action is a worldwide alliance oforganizations and grassroots movements formed last February duringa conference where more than 400 representatives of grassrootsmovements from 56 countries of all continents came together tounit in our resistances. Unity in our great variety: We are fromthe North and from the South, from the Middle East and from theSouth Pacific. We are homeless, indigenous, farmers, landless, feminists, environmentalists, students, intellectualsand unemployed people.

Capitalism is a failing system because people are starving and because the logic of competition is forced upon everyone.

Here are the four basic points that unit us:

We reject the multilateral trade system and its policies.

We are not trying to reform the WTO - we want to destroy it.

We call for direct, non-violent actions because we don't believe in lobbying.

We work together in a basicly democratic way.

We are struggling together because we don't want any nationlist solutions to Neoliberalism. We want food, home, work, educacion, health services - for all. Human rights - including basic needs - must be respected. We want an economy that is made for the people - and not people having to serve the economy.

Our actions will go on. In the next days: The OECD-Meeting in Montréal from the 24th to the 27th of May will be blockaded. In the next weeks: The actions in India, Brasil and other parts of the world are going on. In the next months: There will be continental meetings in all parts of the world in order to spread informations about the policy of the WTO and the spirit of our resistance.

Millions are fighting against WTO and neoliberalism. Resistance is gathering momentum the world over. A movement that wants to change the world.

The next conference of PGA will take place in Bangalore, India, in April 1999. No more WTO-Conferences - in any case not without us.

For more information please check or contact our press office:
phone: (0041) 22/ 344 47 31 fax: (0041) 22/ 940 20 70 e-mail: