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Security Cordon around Global Economic Meeting

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  • Clore Daniel C
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo Wednesday January 30 1:24 PM ET Security Cordon Around Global Economic Meeting By Grant
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2002
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      News for Anarchists & Activists:

      Wednesday January 30 1:24 PM ET

      Security Cordon Around Global Economic Meeting

      By Grant McCool

      NEW YORK (Reuters) - Streets closed, concrete barricades
      blocked sidewalks and thousands of New York police officers
      on Wednesday began guarding the plush venue for the World
      Economic Forum gathering of top business, political and
      religious leaders.

      The five-day meeting starting on Thursday at the
      Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is being tightly wrapped in a security
      blanket in an effort to prevent violent street clashes
      between police and protesters that have disrupted the annual
      forum and other international conferences in recent years.

      It is the first major global economic gathering since the
      Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington
      that killed more than 3,000 people and led to the United
      States declaring war on terrorism. With as many as 2,700
      political leaders and captains of industry gathered in one
      place, safety measures are paramount, police and security
      experts said.

      "Since Sept. 11 everyone's level of awareness has been
      elevated ... and in light of that in light of the
      performance of protesters in cities like Seattle, there is a
      tremendous amount of strategy and planning to make sure
      everyone is safe," said security expert Lou Palumbo,
      director of the Elite Group private security firm. "There is
      a tight security perimeter around the hotel. In the hotel,
      weapons will not be permitted, everyone and their bags will
      be screened for explosives."

      Anti-globalization groups planning demonstrations at the
      World Economic Forum have accused the police of exaggerating
      possible violence by anarchists and others who view the
      event as nothing more than a big cocktail party for the


      Conflict resolution is the major theme to be discussed at
      the forum under the slogan, "leadership in fragile times."
      About half the participants include the world's top
      corporate heads. Some 30 heads of state, 100 cabinet
      ministers and 120 representatives of non-governmental
      organizations will also attend the meeting. It was moved
      from the Swiss resort town of Davos, where it has been held
      for 31 years, in support of New York after the hijacked
      plane attacks.

      The cordon went up around the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park
      Avenue early on Wednesday with the involvement of New York
      Police Department, the FBI (news - web sites), the U.S.
      Secret Service, the diplomatic service and private security
      within the hotel.

      Even a U.S. citizen needed a passport to get to the sidewalk
      in front of the Waldorf-Astoria.

      Police used concrete and steel barricades, police vehicles
      and gleaming white sanitation trucks filled with sand to
      close about 10 blocks around the hotel. Half a dozen city
      sanitation trucks parked across the street from the Waldorf
      were moved out of the way for the occasional motorcade or
      official vehicle.

      Officers stood guard outside the glass and concrete
      buildings along Park Avenue next to the gilded old hotel --
      a slice of prime midtown Manhattan real estate dense with
      hotels, shops and restaurants, major banks and other


      Publisher Random House said it would close its 299 Park
      Avenue offices next to the Waldorf on Friday because of the
      heightened security. Employees said they had to present
      their company identification card to police officers.

      "It was fine. It made me feel better to be honest," employee
      Sheila O'Shea said.

      In the days leading up to the forum, the New York Police
      Department and anti-globalization activists each launched
      public relations campaigns to cast suspicion on the other.

      Police vowed to crack down on any sign of violence and said
      they would invoke an 1845 ordinance outlawing the wearing of
      masks at political gatherings. Balaclavas have been favored
      by some anti-globalization activists who wreaked havoc at
      the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle and
      other global events in Prague, Washington, Quebec City and
      Genoa, Italy.

      "We will not tolerate lawbreaking of any kind," New York
      City Chief of Police Joseph Esposito said.

      For their part, representatives of groups such as
      Anti-Capitalist Convergence and Another World is Possible
      accused police of raising fears to scare people away. They
      said they planned only lawful demonstrations, which will
      include a march on Saturday, street theater, music, dance
      and puppetry.

      "Police ... are using all the disinformation they can to
      frighten people away, to convince them that we're
      dangerous," said Eric Laursen of Another World is Possible.

      No one knows how many demonstrators might turn up in New
      York, but estimates vary from a few thousands to tens of
      thousands. Some protesters will instead attend an
      alternative summit in Brazil and there will be teach-ins and
      discussions around the city, including one at Columbia

      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_

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