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Clinton arrives in Davos while security is stepped up

President Clinton and other world leaders are meeting today at the annual summit of the World Economic Forum in the resort of Davos, amid tight security. Demonstrators have pledged to hold unauthorised protests.

This content was published on January 28, 2000 - 19:40

President Clinton and other world leaders are meeting today at the annual summit of the World Economic Forum in the resort of Davos, amid tight security. Demonstrators have pledged to hold unauthorised protests.

Swiss security forces are on a state of high alert, following a pledge by anti-globalisation protestors to defy an official ban on demonstrations.

Local and regional police, backed by a 70-strong Swiss army unit, are patrolling key sites. President Clinton and other world leaders have also brought dozens of security personnel with them.

Clinton is due to address the Forum and meet leaders such as the Palestinian Authority president, Yasser Arafat, during his brief visit. He will also hold talks with the Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, and other cabinet members.

Ever since the World Trade Organisation summit was severely disrupted by thousands of protestors in Seattle two months ago, there have been worries that demonstrators might try to wreak similar havoc in Davos.

The authorities banned a demonstration on Saturday while world leaders are in town but have permitted one to go ahead on Sunday. Protestors have indicated they may try to get round police checkpoints by mingling among the skiers who flock to the resort over the weekend.

A small incident nearly two weeks ago - when fireworks damaged two windows at the congress centre - raised tension, and prompted the Swiss government to agree to a request by the local authorities in canton Graubünden for professional troops to be sent.

The topography of Davos is likely to work in the security forces' favour. Whereas Seattle was effectively wide open as a big city, Davos is a small town, situated along one main road with a few adjoining streets - and therefore easier to seal off.

From staff and wire reports

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