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Davos investigates security at WEF Forum

Police in Davos ensured anti-globalisation demonstrators did not disrupt the WEF meetings

(swissinfo.ch)

Canton Graubünden has set up a commission to look into security at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos and the options for the future, following protests from the local population.

"The Davos Forum cannot continue in its present form," said Klaus Huber, the director of the cantonal economics department who is heading the commission.

Huber said that the unprecedented security operation mounted at this year's summit last month, had met with disapproval among residents.

"It is vital that the Forum gets the approval and support of those living in Davos if we want to continue holding it here," said Eveline Widmer, president of Graubünden's government.

The commission is due to present its findings in the middle of this year.

For its part the World Economic Forum (WEF) wants to continue holding its annual meeting, which attracts 3,000 leading politicians, businesspeople and academics, in the eastern resort.

"I think Davos remains a great home for the Forum," WEF spokesman, Charles McLean, told swissinfo on Monday.

However, the sight of huge numbers of armed police patrolling the small Alpine town has led to suggestions that the WEF has outgrown Davos, and that it might decide to move elsewhere.

"It's not a question of outgrowing Davos, it's simply a question of applying adequate security to make sure a meeting like ours can go ahead in the future," McLean said.

But the cost of this year's security operation has been criticised. Keeping back anti-globalisation protesters cost the Swiss taxpayer SFr5 million ($3 million).

The head of Graubünden's police force, Peter Aliesch, is scheduled to meet his counterpart in Zurich, Rita Fuhrer, on February 21 to discuss the demonstrations which took place in Zurich during the WEF meeting.

Around 1,000 angry demonstrators, who had been turned away from Davos, converged on the Swiss financial capital and caused SFr700,000 worth of damage.

swissinfo with agencies


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