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

Sunday, 28 January, 2001, 12:12 GMT
Police quell Davos protests
Swiss police move to disperse anti-capitalist protesters from Davos town centre
Police moved in with water cannon
Riot police have thwarted an attempt by several hundred anti-capitalist demonstrators to disrupt the World Economic Forum summit in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

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
The BBC's Claire Doole says Switzerland's biggest security operation in decades appears 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.

Crowd dispersed

BBC News Online's Orla Ryan says the protesters in Davos were mainly young and came from all over 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 and hissing, 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.

Protesters' anger

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.


I can understand people wanting to avoid a violent protest, but to stop people going to a conference, is a violation of their human rights

Jessica Woodruff of the World Development Movement
About 33 people from a Swiss Government blacklist of 300 known activists have been turned away at the borders, having been found in possession of either propaganda materials or potential weapons.

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

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See also:

27 Jan 01 | Americas
Brazilian protesters raid GM farm
25 Jan 01 | Business
Tight security for Davos summit
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