archives of global protests



This is a summary I tried to make about things happening after September protests against IMF/World Bank summit in Prague-Czech Republic.

Arrestation during the Jail Solidarity Demo, Praha, S28

Injured people
From Tuesday S26 till Thursday the doctors gave attend to 123 policemen (the most famous one who was in every newspaper and is now the big czech police hero had a broken nose), 142 activists and 200 financiers. Our INPEG medical volunteers gave basic help to 350-400 people at the streets. Most of them had broken noses, loss of hearing, unconsciousness, injuries of face, head, neck, breast, arms and leg, complications from tear gas or shock. 30 of them were seriously injured and sent to hospital. At the evening of S26 the police came to the Convergence centre and arrested people with visible signs of injuries. In comparison with this "poor" policeman I have information about one czech guy who was attacked by a police car, his knee is completely destroyed and he can't probably use it never again.


Arrested people
During the protests there were 859 people arrested, 330 of the were international, the others Czech. 130 people were taken to Balkova police camp for foreigners which was one of the hardest. After being 3 weeks in prison there were one German guy and a Hungarian girl released from prison but they aren't impeached because the police find out they didn't participate in any illegal action.
According to the newspapers (29.9.2000) 20 people were impeached because of participating in riots, destroying property or attacking policemen, 18 of them international (7 from Hungary, 3 Danish, 3 Polish, 2 Spanish, 1 German, 1 Austrian, 1 American), 2 Czech. At this moment according to Legal Observers information there are still 17 people impeached, all of them international. One Danish and one Polish guy are still in prison in Czech republic. Most of the impeached people are back in their countries. The problem is that they have tu look for new czech lawyers and they can't be in good contact with them. One Polish guy already had his trial and got one year prison for throwing a rock (!) but he has a really good lawyer and it doesn't look so bad. A 16 years old Austrian guy paid money for property (cars) he destroyed but he was also in prison. Czech president Havel gave him amnesty but he was thrown out of his school in Austria.

Arrestation, Praha, S26


Police brutality
There are a few hundred complaints because of police brutality. The police refuses that all of them look quite the same and because of this they think it is a campaign run by activists. Prime minister Milos Zeman and Interior Minister Stanislav Gross first wanted to impeach people who were speaking about police brutality and instigators because of discreditting czech police. After some weeks they had (and still have) a new argument about a good organized media campaign run by an international organization. They didn't specify which organization. The czech media and public mostly don't believe (because they don't want to) that police instigators exist even if the Legal Observers have a video of one man destroying windows and then passing a police line. The are also a lot of witnesses (activists and journalists) who saw the same.
A little bit better situation is about brutality at police stations. The Legal Observers have dozens (maybe hundreds) of complaints and detail descriptions of beating people, refusing sleep, food, water, sexual harrasment and psychical terror. Czech media publicised some cases of imprisoned people:

The problem is that the police is controlled by an interior ministry comission and I don't know any case in the last 5 years when a policemen was taken to a court, found guilty and any measures were taken against him/her.

Solidarity demonstrations
The days after there were lots of solidarity demonstrations with imprisoned people in Berlin, Dresden, Stockholm, Paris, Madrid, Vienna, London, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Oslo, Bratislava etc.

The reactions of politicians and people after S26
Former neoliberalist prime minister Vaclav Klaus wants in future radical police actions against people destroying property or attacking somebody. President Vaclav Havel (he is the famoust czech disident and a former nominee for Nobel price for peace!!!!) said that the police behaviour was correct and said thanks to them. Transport minister Jaromir Schling said the police should use rubber projectiles. Miroslav Macek (same political party as Vaclav Klaus) said, the police should use normal projectiles and fire at protesters. President of Christian Academy Tomas Halik said that for the first time in his life he thanks the police for doing good work. Interior minister Stanislav Gross is now one of the most popular and populistic politicians (but he was before S26 too) and wants to change czech law in the sense of allowing rubber projectiles (that can kill people in distance of 15 meters) and forbidding masks at demonstrations.
According to public research done by Gallup agency before S26 29% of czech people were OK with demonstrations, after S26 17%. Half of Prague citizens think that the police acted in a right way. No one thought that it behaved brutal. The interesting thing is that according to my experiences speaking with loads of people (in school, friends - no activists, at some public discussions, in pubs and anywhere else) nobody was really against the protesters, they were surprised as I showed them pictures from the demonstrations because there was no violence at them and started to think about S26 in an other than official way.

The police got 89 million CZK (4,81 million DEM) especially for September actions. Interior minister Gross thinks that he used them effectively. In general I can say the policemen/women are the big heroes in the eyes of the czech public and politicians. There was an article in one local prague newspaper how the policemen are afraid of psychological consequences because of the protesters brutality or vengeance. Lots of them also got or will get financial award.
And a funny thing - the police transmitters (according to informations from one policeman) were bought some months before September and didn't already work in a good way before S26. After "Bloody Tuesday" (according to one of the most dogmatic czech publicists Ivan Brezina) the police publicly said that the protesters had a machine counteracting this transmitters and that this machine costs 1 million US dollars. Where should we got this money from and how could this big thing pass the borders when they were so hard to cross???

They started to write about the protests in January 2000, it was only about expected violence. Than the situation got a little bit better and I can say that in summer we had some good contacts and articles written about us or the reasons why we protest. But it was nothing great. I think it isn't important which official newspaper, magazine, radio or TV station you are talking about, there is (except 1 or 2 magazines) no one good. It depends on the journalist, not the newspaper. After S26 a big hysteria started and the media were really perfectly practicising this and they manipulated the public opinion. The days after S26 there was no good article, than some about police violence appeared but I know only a few where was written that not everybody was violent. I can't say anything concrete about this because I am working on a detailed analysis of czech media. If there will be any interest I will try to translate it into English.

Future of INPEG
We are still working, at the moment we are finnishing a brochure in english about our work in different working groups, what was OK and what not. I think INPEG will exist also in the future in the form of a communication platform for different anarchist, autonomous, radical ecologic, human rights and other activists and groups. We didn't have any problems with each other except the socialist and I think we'll stop to co-operate with them because their authoritarian tendencies. We will also try to start a information center in Prague that any group involved in INPEG (and other groups of course) has a legal place for spreading their information materials, organizing discussions etc. I think the czech people learned a lot thanks to internationals, we have great contacts, lot of technical stuff left (which was one of the big problems of czech activists) and I think the meeting of IMF/WB was the best thing that could happen to us. It was a great experience!

Contact: Alice Dvorska (INPEG)

S26 Prague
S26 Global Action Day