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(en) <alter-ee> Press statement about Wa29* - 2004-03-11

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 13 Apr 2004 16:54:51 +0200 (CEST)

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The upcoming European Economic Forum has recently become the subject of
several articles in the press. Journalists have devoted most of their
attention to the planned protests. If one were to rely on the descriptions
put forward by the government of Warsaw -- president Lech Kaczyński,
vice-president Władysław Stasiak, and Crisis Management Bureau director
Lucjan Bełza -- the upcoming events would become reminiscent of an imminent
catastrophe. At the top of the list of possible dangers are who the
government refers to collectively as "antiglobalists". The city's leaders
warn against attacks perpetrated by "antiglobalists in 40 different places"
and describe them as perfectly organized groups who will let no one and
nothing stand in their way. They insist that antiglobalists are even more
dangerous than football fans. This absurd vision of the antiglobalist
protests results in even more absurd plans for securing the Forum. Director
Bełza, in one comment for the press, expressed regret that he will have only
10,000 policemen at his disposal. He also regrets that he may not use
military backup, because that would be "against the law and frowned upon by
the international community." President Kaczyński has also suggested that
the nation's border security be heightened for the duration of the EEF. The
fact that the President of Warsaw is thinking in military terms is further
proven by the hurried hiring of former GROM Chief Polko. As to the people
planning protests during the EEF, we are unable to explain what has been
told Mr. Kaczyński and Mr. Bełza, or who has told it, but he or she must
obviously have a vivid imagination. In our opinion, the City's comments on
the preparations for the EEF, as well as their approval for holding the
Forum in Warsaw in the first place both undermine the credibility of
government of Warsaw. The depiction of opponents of exploitation and
injustice as perfectly organized attack squads proves the ignorance of the
authors. Furthermore, it builds up an atmosphere of imminent confrontation
and works as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Both the City as well as the
authors of scandalous articles (obviously seeking cheap sensationalism) will
be responsible for attracting people who want to take part in a riot rather
than speak up against globalization. Concentrating on protests and depicting
visions of three-day riots may very well be a successful method in the fight
for readership, but it is surely a far cry from responsible journalism.

We do not intend to comment on every audacious statement put forth by
president Kaczyński, nor will we comment on each sensational article in the
press. We will, however, take advantage of our right to voice our opinions.
This right is not bestowed upon us by any office or government bureau: it is
our irrevocable citizens' right.

We believe that the attention given by certain journalists to their own
invention, i.e. the riots, has been a successful method of turning attention
away from the core of the problem and away from the very reason for our
protests. Why is it that only yesterday, a couple of weeks before the
Summit, was it officially announced what topics will be debated upon? Why is
it that no one has, as of yet, raised the issue of the costs that the
inhabitants of the downtown area will have to face as a result of its being
closed off? Has anyone even asked Varsovians whether or not they agree to
the paralysis of the city of 2 million? Why is everyone more worried about a
window being broken at the local McDonald's than than about the losses
suffered by the owners of stores, cafes, galleries and offices as a result
of shutting down the downtown area for three days?

Taking into account the above circumstances, we demand that the upcoming EEF
summit in Warsaw be called off, and that the government consult the public
if and when they plan similar events in the future.

Koalicja Grup Wolnościowych "Antyszczyt Wa29"
http://www.wa29.org http://www.antyszczyt.w.pl
press telephone: 0 697 248 526
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