Fwd: Undercurrents report live from Prague 26 Sept 2000

The Land Is Ours office at tlio.demon.co.uk
Fri Sep 29 17:22:04 BST 2000

>To: underc-post-grizwold at topica.com, UC at topica.com
>From: undercurrents alternative news <underc at gn.apc.org>
>Subject: Undercurrents report live from Prague 26 Sept 2000
>Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 05:04:06 -0700
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>Undercurrents report live from Prague 26 Sept 2000
>By Martin Palmer and Paul O Connor,Undercurrents
>The images presented to the planet when the International Monetary Fund and
>World Bank hold their annual joint meetings are not ones of men in suits
>making key decisions for entire nations. The latest images are now of young
>people playing drums and waving banners, often lost in smoke and tear gas
>fired from riot police. Today, as the meetings got underway in Pragues
>former Communist-era Palace of Culture, a police and army guard set out to
>ensure the security of the castle as activists have dubbed it. Around
>8000 activists are on the streets of the capital of the Czech republic to
>disrupt the meetings, taking inspiration from the actions in Seattle and
>Washington DC.
>On Sunday the Undercurrents video crew arrived at the Independent Media
>Center to find police illegally insisting on checking the passports of
>everyone who arrived. When the Undercurrents reporters refused to give any
>details and attempted to enter the police dragged Martin while another
>grabbed his lens. The independent media responded by putting a dozen
>cameras in the face of the officers and forcing them to leave.
>Ya Basta! an Italian network of very together activists hijacked a train to
>take them to Prague. 1,200, strong they led one of the three parts of the
>demonstration. Protesters sorted themselves into three groups with blue,
>pink and yellow colours for ease of identification and cordination. Flags
>in the three colours led the march off in opposite directions both to
>surround the castle and also confuse the police.
>At the police barricade on the road bridge opposite the conference center,
>banners in various languages declared the protests illegal and that force
>would be used to disperse people. A stand off was the result with the Ya
>Basta! leading the yellow group trying to push past the police line.
>Activists succeeded in taking two police batons as souvenirs. Having made
>their was round to the other side of the center the Pink group, consisting
>of mainly British activists, moved in. With a sound track from a Samba band
>and activist folk band Seize the Day, activists got busy with fence
>cutting. One fence cutter said  I am doing this to stop people being hurt
>if the police try to force us into the side. Meanwhile the downed fence
>was dragged off to become part of the activists barricades. Police refused
>to talk despite various musicians trying to open a dialogue. A diminutive
>middle aged Indian woman from the Narmada dam campaign stood nose to nose
>with the line of armed & armored police in gasmasks. The pink group moved
>past the military tanks, hundreds of armored police, and dozens of army
>personnel and found a side street blocked only by a thin line of uniformed
>police. Masked up black clad activists grabbed a metal barrier and ran at
>the line and a battle ensued with both sides getting stuck in. Sticks and
>rocks were thrown as police responded with deafening loud firecrackers,
>smoke grenades, and water cannons. One masked up young man grabbed cameras
>screaming at the press, both independent and mainstream, to stop filming.
>Meanwhile the samba band and other activists blockaded the streets forcing
>a number of delegates cars off the road. One Mercedes had its windows
>smashed and after making a run for it the suited middle aged male occupants
>had an undignified clamber over the police barricades to escape.
>City center McDonalds restaurants lost a few windows while taxi drivers
>complained that activists were targeting them for carrying delegates to and
>from their hotels. The British group got a call on their mobile from a
>woman named Estelle. She has a broken arm and head injuries and is hiding
>in a hospital from the police. Radio and television news is reporting that
>25 police officers have been injured. Delegates have been told that they
>can not leave the conference center as they are surrounded but later
>reports said that they are being evacuated on trains.
>Undercurrents video reports are due as soon as we can sort out the chaotic
>Internet connections in Prague
>The one so far uploaded is footage of Wolfenson, the World Bacn President
>who gets confronted by Indymedia journalist and is asked why he's cutting
>public transport funds as he is actually using the public train.
>You can watch our Videos at
>or http://prague.indymedia.org
>please arrange a screening of this event, contact undercurrents for help
>more details to follow...
>                         Undercurrents
>                         16b cherwell st
>                         oxford ox4 1bg
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>                         Tel +44 (0)1865 203662
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>                 Latest radical video news on your computer now!
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