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"The Other Davos" banned from Bern centre

attac Switzerland is organising the event (otherdavos.net) www.otherdavos.net

An anti-globalisation conference that is critical of the World Economic Forum in Davos has been banned from the centre of the Swiss capital, Bern.

This content was published on January 13, 2005 - 19:15

The decision - which was made for security reasons - has been strongly criticised by the event’s organisers, attac Switzerland.

The conference, known as “The Other Davos”, had been due to take place at the Progr cultural centre in Bern on January 22 - four days before the WEF starts.

But on Thursday Alessandro Pelizzari, the secretary of attac Switzerland and the event’s coordinator, said that the city had decided that it should be moved to a less central location.

“Attac vehemently condemns this decision,” said Pelizzari. “It is without precedence and a further sign that the city authorities want to restrain freedom of expression in the centre of Bern.”

He said it was "cynical" to move it for security reasons as “The Other Davos” was essentially a peaceful forum for intellectuals that had been taking place for six years.

But he added that, out of respect for the international guests, the organisation had decided to accept Bern’s offer of moving the event to the Dampfzentrale, on the banks of the River Aare.

Best solution

Katrien Reist from the Progr cultural centre defended the city’s decision, saying that it was the best solution.

She said that the centre had too much access and that it would have been difficult to ensure the safety of all the participants.

But she stressed that the move was not linked to Tuesday’s decision by the Bernese authorities not to allow anti-globalisation protestors to march through the Swiss capital ahead of the WEF.

Between 300 and 400 people from four continents are expected to attend “The Other Davos”. The main topic will be "De-globalisation or globalisation from below?"

The organiser, attac, is an international movement which supports “democratic control of financial markets and their institutions”.

The event is also supported by a number of non-governmental organisations, as well as other anti-globalisation organisations.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The annual meeting of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum attracts business and political leaders from around the globe.

It takes place this year from January 26-30 in the mountain resort of Davos.

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Key facts

1999: First demonstration against the WEF at Davos.
2000: The World Social Forum launched in Geneva, first event in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001.
2004: Most anti-globalisation groups decide not to protest at the WEF. Bern allows a demonstration but no march.

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