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Sunday, 13 February, 2000, 06:48 GMT
Flan-flingers hit IMF leader

camdessus Michel Camdessus protects himself from the pastry

Michel Camdessus, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) became the latest victim of a notorious pie-throwing protest group, when a demonstrator landed a pastry on his face at UN trade talks in Thailand.

Microsoft boss Bill Gates, former World Trade Organisation leader Renato Ruggiero and film director Jean-Luc Godard have also been victims of Patissiers sans Frontieres (Bakers without Borders).

man Pie thrower Robert Naiman is led away
Mr Camdessus, who was about to deliver his last major address as IMF managing director before retiring on Monday, was targeted by the self-described "pastry commandos" as he arrived at the venue hosting the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

As he approached the lectern, the protester walked up casually to within arm's length of the IMF chief and unleashed the pie.

Security personnel moved to surround Camdessus and the demonstrator, US national Robert Naiman, was escorted away.

Mr Naiman said he wanted to give a warning to Mr Camdessus's successor that the IMF should pursue different policies.

"PSF regards a cream pie on the face as a slight - and sweet - embarrassment compared to the tremendous suffering that the Fund has inflicted on the people of the South
Patissiers Sans Frontiers
Many third world lobby groups at the conference say the IMF has made poverty in the developing countries worse.

But if they were hoping for Mr Camdessus to admit to mistakes in his 13 years as IMF chief, they would have been disappointed.

After cleaning the cream from his face, he made a speech arguing that globalisation was basically a positive development and that governments should do more to enable the poor to get the benefits.

Rich countries should provide more aid and developing countries should do more to improve their economic policies.

Patissiers sans Frontieres (PSF) applauded the attack in a statement.

Good humour

The group says the pie-throwing is designed to poke fun at prominent figures and those who are judged to take the public creamings with good humour are never bothered again.

The attack on Mr Camdessus came despite a massive security curtain imposed by the Thai Government, which was anxious to prevent a repeat of the violence at WTO talks in Seattle last year and at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month.

However, 1,000 activists marched on the conference on Saturday, calling for radical changes to the global financial system, which they say keeps much of the world locked in poverty.

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See also:
13 Feb 00 |  Business
IMF calls for world economic summit
12 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Asian leaders condemn multinationals
12 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Annan calls for global deal
03 Feb 00 |  UK
Flanning: Rich and famous get custard pie treatment
11 Feb 00 |  Business
World trade focus shifts to UN
25 Dec 99 |  Business
Body blow for free trade

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