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(en) Australia, Sydney, MEDIA - High security for WTO meeting

From "anarcho sando" <anarcho_sando@hotmail.com>
Date Fri, 11 Oct 2002 03:44:18 -0400 (EDT)


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High security for WTO meeting
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,5257628%255E2702,00.html
By Martin Chulov, National police writer
October 10, 2002
A SWATH of Sydney's most exclusive shopping district is likely to be fenced 
off and hundreds of officers may be deployed to counter demonstrators at a 
World Trade Organisation meeting next month that police fear will turn 
violent.

The federal Government has given the green light for the meeting, involving 
trade ministers from 24 countries, to be held at the five-star Sir Stamford 
Hotel in Double Bay on November 14 and 15.

But police and intelligence agencies fear the location of the meeting - in 
the heart of Sydney's affluent eastern suburbs - will provoke 
anti-capitalist demonstrators.

NSW Police Minister Michael Costa and the state's Police Commissioner Ken 
Moroney are holding a full security briefing with senior officers in Sydney 
today. State and federal authorities were advised of the decision on 
Tuesday.

"This is madness," said one senior officer. "If you really want to provoke 
anti-global capitalists, the organisers could not have picked a bet ter spot 
than a row of Gucci and Armani stores.

"The area represents exactly what these people despise and I fear the 
situation could develop into something life-threatening."

Police and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been monitoring 
websites encouraging activists to travel to Sydney and have become 
increasingly concerned at the volume of traffic and messages urging violence 
in some emails.

Some websites contain instructions to bring metal objects, paint-bombs and 
other weapons. One encourages demonstrators to bring first-aid kits and 
clothing to lessen the effects of tear gas.

ASIO and other federal agencies will meet with the NSW Police Protective 
Security Group today to formalise dignitary protection plans and crowd 
control.

Early estimates suggest police can expect up to 2000 demonstrators to 
converge on the hotel and its surrounding retail precinct, which has 97 
boutique shops and upmarket eateries.

Intelligence suggests that a core group of anti-capitalist protesters will 
be joined by numerous other Interest Motivated Groups, among them refugee 
action and wilderness groups.

Of particular concern is a large vacant lot next to the hotel that some 
officers fear could be an ideal rallying point for attacks on delegates.

Police have prepared several plans to blockade the area to all except 
conference guests.

Trade ministers from all G7 countries as well as developing countries are 
expected to travel to Sydney for the meeting.

The last World Trade Organisation meeting, held in the northwest US city of 
Seattle, ended in failure in late 1999 after it was blighted by violent 
protests.


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