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Police face off with demonstrators at Davos

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-02-01

Police clashed with protesters on the last day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders had gathered to discuss the global economic crisis. Earlier, Japan pledged $17 billion to help Asian nations hit by the downturn.

Read more: Can Davos stem the crisis?

and Leaders discuss state intervention in banks

 

Swiss police clashed with demonstrators against the Davos forum on Saturday, firing tear gas in central Geneva after officers were pelted with bottles and fireworks.
   
Sixty people were arrested after hundreds of protestors converged on the centre of Geneva to protest against the World Economic Forum in Davos in defiance of a ban imposed by local authorities, a police spokesman said.
   
Organisers had appealed for calm, while attacking the ban on the march.
   
"Around 60 people were arrested, of whom 20 have already been released," police spokesman Jean-Philippe Brandt said two hours after the start of the protest.
   
He said no injuries had been reported on either side, adding that most demonstrators had been dispersed and only a hard core of some 100 radicals were being contained by police.

 


  
After tentatively allowing the rally to go ahead, the regional government said earlier this month the organisers of the demonstration had been unable to provide sufficient security guarantees to stage the event in the western Swiss city.

   
Police equipped with a water cannon had blocked the planned route of the march, while participants were systematically checked and their bags searched.
   
In Davos, a group of protestors marched through the snow-covered Alpine village, holding a giant banner that read "You Are The Crisis".
   
Another small group chanting "No To the WEF" threw fake blood on security barriers and ripped down sheeting on the perimeter.   
 
Banners being carried Saturday called for freedom of expression and attacked the "capitalist swindle", claiming that "the blackmailers of the WEF are mortgaging our future."

 

Police kept a low profile, and only some symbolic snowballs and a few shoes were thrown by the protestors.
   
Although the Davos meeting takes place on the other side of the country, the WEF's administrative headquarters are just outside Geneva and the prosperous city's private banks and commodity traders are taken as something of a symbol for capitalism.
   
At talks earlier in the day, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso pledged 1.5 trillion yen (17 billion dollars) in aid to other Asian countries as leaders wrapped up the Davos forum after four days of agonising about the world economy.
   
The initiative by Japan, aimed at funding infrastructure projects to boost economic growth in its Asian neighbours, capped a week of gloomy talks about how to jumpstart the world economy and put an end to the financial crisis.
   
"We must admit that the year 2009 opened on a very somber note," Aso told delegates here during a six-hour trip to the Swiss ski mountain that hosts the World Economic Forum each year.
   


 

Date created : 2009-01-31

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