Massive police operation to prevent Davos protests

Riot police, pictured in Davos last year, will be out in force at this month's World Economic Forum summit Keystone

Police in the south-eastern Swiss canton of Graubünden are preparing their largest-ever operation in an attempt to prevent demonstrations during the World Economic Forum, which starts in Davos on January 25.

This content was published on January 3, 2001 - 11:39

The cantonal government said police reinforcements would be drafted in from all Swiss cantons and neighbouring Liechtenstein for "the biggest challenge" faced by Graubünden police since the force was founded in 1804.

Local authorities said in a statement released on Wednesday that it would not be possible to seal off Davos.

Instead, attempts will be made to speak to demonstrators who have threatened to launch protests during the five-day summit, which brings together leading political and business leaders from around the world.

The cantonal government has already rejected permission for a demonstration by anti-globalisation protestors during the summit.

Unauthorised protests turned violent last year when President Clinton visited the summit. The demonstrators were, however, prevented from reaching the congress centre where the summit is held.

The local authorities said the increased police presence was justified by the violent demonstrations during the summit last year, as well as disruption at other international economic meetings over the past year.

The federal government will pay 80 per cent of the policing costs.

swissinfo with agencies

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