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Monday, 25 September, 2000, 00:04 GMT 01:04 UK
'Widespread' discontent at IMF
Anti-globalisation protesters in Prague
Protesters from across Europe have descend on Prague
By Ray Furlong in Prague

A UK-based development pressure group is issuing a report which claims to shatter the myth that it is only students in developed countries who are concerned by International Monetary Fund policies.

The study, by a British development pressure group, says that since the anti-globalisation protests in Seattle last year, there have been at least 50 separate cases of civil unrest in 13 poor countries.

Demonstration in Prague
It is not just students who object to globalisation, the report says
It comes on the eve of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings, which are being accompanied by various anti-capitalist demonstrations.

The World Development Movement, which compiled the report, gives specific examples of popular discontent with the IMF.

'Financial dictatorship'

For example, it points to a series of strikes and protests in Argentina earlier this year afer the government agreed to economic reforms in return for a $7bn loan from the IMF.

The report cites Argentina's President, Fernando de la Rua, as saying the country has no choice but to meet the IMF's conditions.

Demonstrators, it says, described this as financial dictatorship by the IMF.

'IMF hijackers'

Similarly, in Nigeria, there were demonstrations against de-regulation of the oil sector.

A trade union leader is quoted as saying that protests were aimed at rescuing Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo, from IMF hijackers.

In recent days, the IMF and World Bank leaders have insisted that poverty reduction and debt relief is their priority.

But this report says the issue is wider, pointing to a range of economic problems which it says are caused by IMF structural adjustment programmes drawn up as conditions for loans.

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23 Sep 00 | Business
G7 ready for further euro action
23 Sep 00 | Europe
Day of protests in Prague
23 Sep 00 | Business
Rich countries lean on Opec
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