Rallies held to protest against WEF

Hundreds of people have rallied in Geneva and Davos to protest against the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), taking place in Davos.

This content was published on January 31, 2009 - 17:25

Carrying banners reading "You are the Crisis" and throwing snowballs, the protesters said those attending the gathering were not qualified to fix the world's problems.

"It's the same people who came last year and said the world economic situation is fine, and now we're in a financial crisis. Now it's the taxpayer who has to solve the whole problem," said protester Alex Heideger, a member of the Davos Green Party, outside the heavily guarded Hotel Seehof in Davos.

In Geneva, where the WEF has its headquarters, police in riot gear fired tear gas and water canons to disperse a crowd that had gathered in a square near the train station. Witnesses said there did not appear to be any violence by the protesters.

Local authorities did not formally permit the rally.

Geneva police spokesman Jean-Philippe Brandt said that about 60 people were detained temporarily for checks but there had been no arrests. About 30 had been released and the rest are due to be released soon, he said.

"There are small groups of people who are clashing with police but there have not been any injuries on one side or the other," Brandt said, adding there were also no reports of damage to buildings or businesses so far.

Florence Proton of ATTAC Suisse, one of the Geneva organisers, said it was important for outside voices to be heard in debates about how to resolve the crisis.

"The people meeting in Davos are the ones responsible for this economic crises that is becoming, and is now, global," she said.

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