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Army reinforcements drafted in to secure WEF

More than three times as many troops will be mobilised next year Keystone

Up to 6,500 Swiss troops will be deployed during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the mountain resort of Davos in January.

This content was published on October 29, 2003 - 17:01

The defence ministry said the cabinet had agreed to a request by the regional authorities in Graubünden. The decision still needs approval by parliament.

The costs to the government are estimated at about SFr21 million ($16 million).

The reinforced army presence is a huge increase on the 1,800 soldiers deployed to ensure security at this year’s WEF meeting.

The government said additional troops were justified because of the importance to Switzerland of the annual meeting of business leaders and politicians.

It said there was “a risk security could be endangered by violent demonstrations, looting, attacks on individuals, acts of sabotage or terrorism”.

The seven-strong cabinet called on other cantons to support Graubünden by providing extra police officers for the event.

Clashes in Bern

In January security forces managed to prevent a major protest from taking place in Davos, but violent clashes broke out later in the capital, Bern.

Several officers were injured as police tried to bring the 1,000-strong crowd under control using water cannon and tear gas.

Swiss police were supported in Davos by colleagues from neighbouring Germany. Under a cooperation agreement signed last year, Germany provided 50 police officers and at least six water cannon.

Meanwhile, the cabinet also called on cantons to send police reinforcements to Geneva in December for the World Summit on the Information Society.

swissinfo with agencies

WEF

The WEF meeting runs from January 21-25.
6,500 troops have been mobilised - up from 1,800 at this year's meeting

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