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Thousands Rally Outside WEF

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  • Clore Daniel C
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo Thousands Rally Outside World Economic Forum Sat Feb 2, 8:26 PM ET By Larry Fine and Soo
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3 1:50 AM
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      News for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      Thousands Rally Outside World Economic Forum

      Sat Feb 2, 8:26 PM ET

      By Larry Fine and Soo Youn

      NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thousands of raucous demonstrators
      rallied against globalization, war and corporate greed under
      a heavy police watch on Saturday in a massive protest aimed
      at the World Economic Forum that avoided the violence that
      has marred similar past meetings.

      As protesters marched more than a mile through midtown
      Manhattan, wearing costumes, carrying signs and puppets,
      making music and chanting slogans before finishing near the
      WaldorfAstoria Hotel where the forum was being held, even
      the police praised their peaceful conduct.

      "They've been wonderful," police spokesman Kevin Czartoryski
      said of the protesters.

      Just seven people were arrested for disorderly conduct
      during the march that drew more than 5,000 people, a police
      spokesman said. Two others were arrested for disorderly
      conduct at an earlier rally outside the hotel that drew
      another estimated 3,000 demonstrators.

      With more than 4,000 New York City police officers, U.S.
      Secret Service agents and private security guards braced for
      potential disruptions, the peaceful protests brought a sense
      of great relief after the violence that brought the 1999
      World Trade Organization summit in Seattle to a standstill.
      Last year, Italian police shot and killed one demonstrator
      shot at the G8 Summit in Genoa.

      Phalanxes of police in riot gear kept the protectors a block
      or more from the posh hotel where forum met, shielding the
      attendees at the five-day gathering of the world's business
      and political elite from the demonstrations outside.

      The attendees included Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates,
      Japanese Economic Minister Heizo Takenaka, Peruvian
      President Alejandro Toledo and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul
      O'Neill.

      A "STRICTLY LEGAL" PROTEST

      David Graeber of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence anarchists
      group said protest leaders had decided on peaceful protests
      in the taut, post-Sept. 11 atmosphere in New York.

      "All the organizers agreed this would be strictly legal," he
      told Reuters.

      Accompanied by dozens of officers on motorcycles, hundreds
      of police on foot, and watched from above by three
      low-flying police helicopters, the protesters marched and
      danced through midtown under clear, chilly skies.

      A mix of young students and older protest veterans, the
      crowd waved signs reading "World Exploitation Forum" and
      "End the War." Some carried a large burlap dragon on poles
      that read, "The WEF is Dragon Us Down," and a giant papier
      mache vulture wearing "WEF" on its breast as it perched atop
      planet Earth.

      In a mood both festive and defiant, some protested corporate
      globalization strategies, while others objected to the use
      of low-paid labor in developing countries.

      Kate Farmer, 53, a research scientist from Northampton,
      Massachusetts, carried a sewing machine with a sign saying:
      "22 cents an hour in Lesotho, Africa, sewing clothes for
      you."

      "There are people now...being abused working in Taiwanese
      sweatshops in Lesotho to make clothes for the Gap, Wal-Mart
      and Kmart," she said.

      TRAFFIC AT A STANDSTILL

      Witnesses said one of those arrested was a young man who
      refused to remove a gray bandanna covering his mouth, and
      that an onlooker who questioned the arrest also was taken
      into custody as protesters chanted "Let them go!"

      Anarchists spokesman Graeber said police used undercover
      officers to pick on some of the protesters at the march.

      "They used snatch squads, cops who grabbed people for no
      reason during the march, hoping someone would resist," he
      said. "They are trying to create a climate of terror, of
      fear and general intimidation."

      Earlier protests during the five-day-long forum were far
      smaller, with demonstrators heavily outnumbered by police,
      who were hailed as local heroes in the wake of the Sept. 11
      attacks that leveled the city's World Trade Center and
      killed some 3,000 people.

      --
      Dan Clore
      mailto:clore@...

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