PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Water cannons and chemical deterents deployed and mass opposition demonstrations economic summit.
Anti-WTO Clashes Close Hong Kong
C. L. Cook
December 17, 2005
Nearly a thousand protesters are under arrest following pitched battles with riot police
as World Trade Organization meetings wind down in Hong Kong, The Scotsman reports.
As in Seattle and Quebec City, thousands have come out to express their dissatisfaction with the economic direction being promoted by the WTO and its enforcer, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And, as in Seattle and Quebec City, their protests have been met with massive "security" obstacles and police violence.
More than 900 are incarcerated at this hour, and scores have been hospitalized after protesters breached police lines in what is being described as the worst street violence in the communist city's short history. Hong Kong police commissioner, Dick Lee says 41are in hospital, including five police officers. Speaking of those in police custody, Lee says: "If necessary we will make arrests. We will not let them go easily."
Protests have become increasingly violent.
From the beginning of the WTO event, police reacted to protests by South Korean farmers and activists from Europe and North America forcefully, deploying tear gas, and skin irritants, fired as a foam-like substance. Protesters have responded with bamboo Lhati sticks, and on Saturday charged a police line using one of the thousands of metal barriers erected to seperate the economic representatives of the world economy from the crowds.
Describing police response, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee went on television, warning police would, "[T]ake robust action to dispel these illegal and violent actions."
The protesters believe proposed trade deals will unfairly harm the economies of the world's poorest countries and people, while further favouring the rich.
C. L. Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News and host of the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.
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