The Guardian August 30, 2000


Preparations for Prague actions

Momentum is gathering as organisers prepare for a week of actions from 
September 21-28 in Prague (Czech Republic) against the 55th annual 
ministerial meeting of the IMF and the World Bank. Organisers are expecting 
20,000 protestors to descend on Prague from across Europe and other parts 
of the globe. Solidarity actions are also being planned in the USA and 
elsewhere.

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) is giving priority to the 
Prague rally on September 23 which is organised by the Stop the IMF! 
coalition of which the Party and Communist Union of Youth are members.

It will also be supporting a conference on globalisation organised by the 
same coalition on September 24.

The Government is taking a strong stand against the protests. The Interior 
Minister has warned that it will do everything necessary if protestors try 
to make a barrier around the conference.

The Ministry of the Interior plans to deploy 11,000 policemen and troops, 
together with 600 "specialists" from abroad. It intends transferring 1,100 
pensioners from the area to the countryside. Schools will be closed and 
children sent on holidays for the week of the meeting.

The media have been portraying the Left as a force which destroys property 
and there are suggestions that certain forces would like to use the 
protests to harm the Left prior to important regional and Senate elections 
in November.

"Get on the bus to Prague"

"Stop the IMF and World Bank", "Get on the Bus to Prague", and join the S26 
actions in Prague on September 26. The call comes from protest organisers 
in the Netherlands.

The IMF and World Bank are the organisations which are forcing the Third 
World to pay a US$900 billion debt to western bankers and governments, says 
a statement issued by the Dutch organisers.

"We live in a world in which wealth has increased enormously in the past 
two decades, but the three richest persons in the world own as much 
as the 49 poorest countries; 1.2 billion people have to survive on 
less than US$1 a day; every year 17 million children die of curable 
diseases."

US solidarity actions

In the US, national and local organisations in more than 40 cities are 
planning actions that target local perpetrators of corporate globalisation 
while connecting their plans to the major demonstrations scheduled for 
Prague on September 26.

Organisations endorsing the actions include the AFL-CIO, International 
Brotherhood of Teamsters, Communications Workers of America, Jobs with 
Justice, Rainforest Action Network, Witness for Peace, Center for Economic 
Justice, Campaign for Labor Rights, Coalition Against Global Exploitation, 
Boston Global Action Network, Nicaragua-US Friendship Office, Mexico 
Solidarity Network and many others.

In a call to action the organisers demand: "the immediate suspension of the 
policies and practices that have caused widespread poverty and suffering 
among the world's peoples and damage to the world's environment.

"We oppose those policies that have encouraged the suppression of basic 
human rights and freedoms, especially those specific to women, workers, and 
the poor. 

"We issue this call in the name of global justice, in solidarity with the 
peoples of the global south, struggling for survival and dignity in the 
face of unjust economic policies.

"We seek to create just societies, where governments are accountable first 
and foremost to the will of their peoples for equitable economic 
development.

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