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2002-02-04

Is Another World Possible? Power and Protest As the World Economic Forum Comes to New York

Guests

David Boehner, The Anti-WTO Coordination, a Swiss anti-globalization organization

Andre Siegenthaler, Zurich based anti-globalization activist with the group Direct Solidarity With Chiapas

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More than ten thousand people gathered to protest the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum this weekend in thestreets of midtown Manhattan. A diverse array of groups marched downtown from the west and the east sides of the cityand converged at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, where the forum took place this weekend. The colorful crowd swarmed overthe busy streets, carrying puppets and banners, chanting and singing, culminating in a rally outside the hotel. Butdespite weeks of preparations by the NYPD and heavy police presence during the weekend of protests, Saturday’sdemonstration was relatively peaceful. Less than 40 were arrested yesterday, and there were few reports of violencealong the demonstration route.

But the general calm and festivity of the weekend’s protests against the World Economic Forum ended abruptlyyesterday, when police broke up chanting demonstrators taking over stretches of the East Village and the Upper EastSide. By late evening close to 200 people had been arrested. As members of the Anti Capitalist Convergence gatheredin the street of the east village yesterday afternoon, drumming and chanting to prepare for a "snake march" throughthe city, the police swept in and arrested over 85 people. Organizers say the arrests were preemptive strikes onpeople doing nothing illegal, done by a police force trying to prevent civil disobedience from happening later in theday. Most have been charged with loitering and unlawful assembly.

Later in the afternoon, thousands of police descended on an Animal and Earth Liberation Front march across one of thecity’s more exclusive neighborhoods in upper Manhattan. A crowd of a dozen or two quickly grew to more than 100,followed by vans and lines of police officers in riot gear, with choppers circling overhead. Once a demonstratordamaged the outside of a building, scores of police officers swooped in and arrested nearly a hundred. The streets ofNew York are still heavily covered with police today.

Tape:

  • The Sounds Of The Streets Of The World Economic Forum Protests This Weekend, produced by John Hamilton.

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