Civil society boycotts Hague conference
- Closed conference in Hague to discuss "Maintaining public order, a democratic approach"
- speakers refuse to attend as token NGO representatives
In the wake of the Genoa protests and confrontations with police and paramilitary units the Italian government has decided to move the planned NATO Summit meeting on 26-27 September from the city of Naples to the Pozzuoli military base on the outskirts. See also EU plans to counter protests: Statewatch report
In the USA major protests are expected at the joint meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Washington D.C. between 29-30 September, see: http://www.globalizethis.org/s30/
Protests are also expected at the special conference organised by the Netherlands police in the Hague, 3-5 October where "experts" have been called together to discuss: "Maintaining public order, a democratic approach" (see details below).
The Italian government is also calling for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA) planned meeting on 5-9 November to be moved from Rome to an African country.
Civil society declines to attend "Maintaining public order, a democratic approach" conference, Hague, Netherlands
The organisers of the "Maintaining public order, a democratic approach" conference" were keen to get a "token" speaker from the protest movement to attend. Naomi Klein, the author, was invited to speak but declined, because she did not feel like to be used as the flagship of a police conference. The message inviting her said:
"Dear Mrs. Klein,
On behalf of the chief of police of the city The Hague, The Netherlands, Mr. Jan Wiarda, I contact you. We are in the process of organising an international conference on the subject: "maintaining public order, a democratic approach".
The conference will be related to the aspects of public order, riots etc. at the time of meetings of IMF, WB, G7 etc (a.o. Seattle, Prague, Melbourne....). Representatives of the various police forces of Europe, Northern America and Australia will be invited. The conference will be held in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 3 till 5 October 2001.
Mr. Jan Wiarda likes to discuss with you the possibility to invite you to deliver a paper at the conference. I also contacted Mrs.Magill of your publishing agency with the same request. Please contact me as soon as possible. Best regards and stay healthy.
Kasper Doornbusch, Colonel of the Dutch police, The Hague"
They also tried to get Jerry Mander, International Forum on Globalisation, and someone from Friends of the Earth. Mr Doornbusch then invited David Korten, a commentator from the USA, who accepted, withdrew, but who has now decide to attend after having had a "dialogue" with the Dutch police.
Calling notice and Agenda of the "Maintaining public order, a democratic approach" conference, Hague, Netherlands
Global Civil Society
Maintaining Public Order, A democratic approach
By invitation only
3rd, 4th and 5th October 2001
Dutch Conference Centre The Hague - The Netherlands
THE BATTLE OF SEATTLE, December 1999
During the WTO meetings in Seattle in December 1999, a wide variety of organizations and groups protested against the globalization of the economy and its impact on the people of the southern hemisphere and third world countries, and on the environment. What could be called a global civil society - a network of individuals and groups - has grown up. Farmers. workers, students, environmental activists and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) came together in the streets of Seattle to express their displeasure as vociferously us they could. The great majority of the protesters were non-violent, but the rest chose to mount a violent protest The demonstrations and protests were consequently accompanied by violent riots and disturbances. Since then almost every summit - be it economic or political - has been held against a background of demonstrators against globalisation. They include:
Washington, April 2000, serious riots during the IMF, World Bank and G8 summit,
Melbourne, September 2000, disturbances during the World Economic Forum,
Prague, September 2000, serious and violent riots during the IMF, World Bank and G8 summit,
Nice, December 2000, riots during the EU summit,
Quebec, April 2001, riots during the meeting of the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas),
Gothenburg, June 2001, serious riots during the EU Summit.
On the basis of information from intelligence and security services, the Italian government actually fears orchestrated armed violence by militant Moslem extremism (Osama Bin-Laden) during the upcoming G8 summit (July 2001) in Genoa (source: BBC: Monitoring).
After Seattle and Prague, the WTO has scheduled its next summit for November 2001 in Qatar!
The Internet, an indispensable resource in the operations of banks, multinationals, and intelligence and security services, is also a lifeline for the anti-capitalists. Without the Internet, the global civil society would not have grown into what it is now and it cannot function without it. The activists found one another on the Internet, they communicate with one another on the Internet, they organize their demonstrations and their protests violent or otherwise - on the Internet and they broadcast their own television footage. The emergence of the Internet has made it possible to protest against globalisation on a global scale. Some groups in Prague actually used the Internet to organize a training camp where they could practise successful methods of taking action based on intelligence they had gathered about the tactics of the Czech police.
The police, as the front line civil organisation responsible for maintaining public order, are faced with a problem that is very difficult to control. Protestors from all over the world travel to the venues of summit meetings. Both the uninterrupted progress of the official summit and the exercise of the democratic right to freedom of speech and to demonstrate have to be safeguarded, and public order disturbances and riots have to be prevented. This would indeed appear to be a totally impossible task. From even a superficial look at the events of the last two years, it is in any event clear that deploying unlimited numbers of law enforcement personnel and constructing virtually impregnable barriers around conference centres are no guarantee whatsoever that disturbances and riots will be prevented and that the summit in question will be able to proceed normally.
Mass demonstrations against globalisation, whatever the motives, are a legitimate social trend that cannot simply be dismissed by claiming that it is only anarchists who disturb the peace and incite riots. The serious concerns about globalisation cause even demonstrators who are in principle non-violent - particularly in those situations when, in their interpretation they are confronted by police who are only serving the interests of economic globalization to throw stones and storm barricades.
A PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE
The Dutch and Belgian police succeeded in getting through the Euro 2000 football championships virtually without trouble. The UN Climate Conference in The Hague in November 2000 also passed off without serious incident. The police operation was characterised by an intensive information phase, including "detection work" on the internet and a direct and open approach to people and groups suspected of planning to take action. As far as possible protests were permitted and supervised. Immediate and consistent action was taken against unannounced demonstrations and apparent attempts to incite riots. The result was that potential troublemakers were separated from the other essentially non-violent protesters who could consequently exercise their right to demonstrate. Other police forces in other countries have also succeeded in maintaining order during summit conferences.
International cooperation and the sharing of intelligence and successful tactics is crucial to the various police organisations concerned if they are to be able to maintain order and keep control during future summits. The Dutch police are consequently organising an international conference/experts meeting under the title: MAINTAINING PUBLIC ORDER, A DEMOCRATIC APPROACH
The conference is being held in The Hague Netherlands, from 3 to 5 October 2001 It will be a closed forum. Senior police officers from the capitals and other major cities of most European countries, North America, Australia and New Zealand are being invited to attend. There will be presentations on the events in Seattle, Melbourne, Prague and The Hague. There will be contributions from the "global civil society" the international
financial and economic organisations, and the local authorities responsible for the policing of events of this kind. There will be workshops where the most important items will be explored in greater depth, experiences and successful tactics will be shared, and agreements for further cooperation will be prepared.
THE AIM OF THE CONFERENCE
The aim of the Conference:
1. To acquire greater insight into the phenomenon of the "global civil society.
2. To share information and successful tactics for maintaining order during summit conferences.
3.To build up an international network of police experts.
4.To set up a permanent interchange of expertise and to intensify international cooperation in this area.
The ultimate goal is to achieve a situation in which it remains possible to carry on holding summits without this leading to serious public order disturbances and riots, and in which at the same time the democratic right to demonstrate can be exercised as a legitimate means of influencing international politics and financial decision-making.
The event is being organized by the Regional Police Force Haaglanden in The Hague, the Conflict and Crisis Management Committee of the Dutch Board of Chief Commissioners and the Police Institute for Public Order and Safety, a division of the LSOP (Police Education and Knowledge Centre).
Programme International Experts Meeting 3, 4 and 5 October 2001
Tuesday 2 October 2001
Arrival in The Hague
Day 1 The Phenomenon Wednesday 3 October 2001
9:45 am. Opening of Experts Meeting by the Chairman Mr. Bob R. Visser, Chief Commissioner of the Regional Police Force Kennermerland Haarlem, The Netherlands and Chairman of the Conflict and Crisis Management Committee, Dutch Board of Chief Commissioners Presentation: "The Globalisation of Organisations"
10:00 am Presentation: "The Globalisation of Organisations", Mr Andre Schelder World Economic forum. Geneva. Switzerland
10:45 am Presentation: The Phenomenon of the Global Civil Society" Mr. David C Korten, President of The People Centered Development Forum (PCDForum), Seattle, USA The Phenomenon of the Global Civil Society.
11:30 am Break
11:50 am Mr Sybrand J van Hulst, Director-General National Security Service. The Hague, The Netherlands
12:40 pm Lunch
2.00 pm "Local Government Responsibility" Mr Wim J Deetman, Mayor of The Hague, The Netherlands
2.45 pm Workshops chaired by Dutch Chief Commissioners
4.30 pm Aperitifs
6.30 pm Buffet diner. Venue: Nieuwe Kerk. The Hague
Provisional: Dinner speech by the Minister of the Interior Mr Klass de Vries
Day 2 Best Practice Thursday 4 October 2001
9:00 am Opening of the second day by the Chairman.
9.10 am Presentation on the lessons learned in Seattle (December 19990 Mr Clark S. Kimerer, Assistant Chief Seattle Police Department, Seattle, USA
10:00 am Presentation on the lessons learned In Melbourne (September 2000) Mr Neil O'Loughlin, Deputy Chief Commissioner Victoria Police Force, Melbourne, Australia
10.50 am Break
11:10 am Presentation on the lessons learned in Prague (September 2000) Mr Radislav Charvat, Chief Commissioner Prague Police, Prague, Czech Republic
12.00 noon Lunch
1:30 pm Presentation on the lessons learned in The Hague (November 2000) Mr Jan Wiarda, Chief Commissioner of the Regional Police Force, Haaglanden, The Hague, The Netherlands
2:20 pm Break
2.50 pm Workshops chaired by Dutch Chief Commissioners
5:30 pm Boat trip around the Port of Rotterdam, including dinner
Day 3 Conclusions 5 October 2001
9:00 a.m. Opening of the final day by the Chairman
9.16 a.m. Feedback from the workshops in a plenary session chaired by Mr Erwin R. Muller, director Dutch Police Academy, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, and director of the Crisis Research Centre, University of Leiden, The Netherlands
10.00 a.m. Each subject presented by the chairman/secretary of the workshop groups presentation: 'A vision for the future'. How can we benefit from and operationalize all the advances? Chaired by Mr. Erwin R. Muller
11.00 a. m. Break
11:30 a.m. Creating a programme for an international network and creating a vision for the future. Date for the next conference- Chaired by Mr. Erwin R. Muller
12:30 p.m. Conference conclusions and closing remarks by the Chairman
1 :00 p.m. Lunch
End of Conference
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