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The BBC's Caire Doole
"The Swiss authorities put on a show of force"
 real 56k

Sunday, 28 January, 2001, 11:42 GMT
Tech warnings dominate Davos
Swiss police move to disperse anti-capitalist protesters from Davos town centre
Police moved in with water cannon on Saturday
By BBC News Online's Orla Ryan in Davos

US technology giants have voiced their concerns about the effect of an economic slowdown on their businesses.

Fears of a US hard landing have dominated debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

There was still a strong security presence on the streets of the Swiss ski resort on Sunday, after riot police quashed a demonstration by several hundred anti-capitalist demonstrators on Saturday.

The work of the summit continued as usual with keynote addresses expected from Palestine's Yasser Arafat and Israeli minister Shimon Peres later on Sunday.

Delegates, including the WTO's Mike Moore and the World Bank's James Wolfensohn are also due to discuss the backlash against globalisation.

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki is expected to unveil his much-flagged Millenium Plan for the African continent.

US slowdown

But most debates will be coloured by fears of the impact of a slowdown in the US on the world economy.

Speaking to the BBC, Sun Microsystems' Masood Jabbar, executive vice president of global sales operations, said: "If the economy slows down, we are not immune to it."

But he added that "the world economy is generally reasonably good from a Sun Microsystems perspective".

Compaq's Peter Blackmore, executive vice president, worldwide sales and services, told the BBC that their estimates for growth in the first half were conservative, although he added they were "confident of a soft landing".

The conventional PC market may be slowing down - as many consumers already have a computer - but demand from business to update their systems remains strong, he said.


Delegates were largely untouched by Saturday's demonstration.

Police used water cannon and moved forward with a line of armoured vehicles, pushing the crowd away from the Congress Centre where the meeting was taking place. There were no reports of any arrests.

Demonstrators chanting "wipe out the WEF" had been involved in a tense standoff with police in the town centre for more than an hour after evading tight security around the resort.

Swiss riot police
Police and demonstrators engaged in a tense stand off
Switzerland's biggest security operation in decades appeared to have paid off, with no repeat of last year's violence and no disruption to the meeting.

The Swiss authorities set up roadblocks, halted all train services, and placed 900 police and troops on alert.

Scores of protesters were turned back on the main road into Davos, and another group of demonstrators were dispersed from a railway station in Landquart, about 40 km (25 miles) away.

The protesters in Davos were mainly young and came from all across Europe.

Anti-capitalist demonstrator
The protesters succeeded in breaching tight security
Some appeared to be hardcore members of anti-capitalist and anarchist groups.

When they reached a major road block, the police issued a warning that the protest was illegal and ordered the crowd to disperse.

Following a chorus of booing, police opened fire with water cannon.

Protesters then started to move back with police following slowly in armoured vehicles dispersing the crowds through side roads.

The demonstrators say the international political and business leaders attending the meeting are simply furthering the interests of multi-national companies at the expense of poor countries.

Campaigners have complained that they have been harassed by the heavy-handed approach of the Swiss authorities.

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