From Sat Nov 16 10:30:08 2002
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 11:33:09 -0600 (CST)
From: MichaelP <>
Article: 147135
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Security fortress shuts down anti-WTO protest in Sydney

By James Regan, Agence France Presse, Friday 15 November 2002, 3:19 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters)—Anti-globalisation protests fizzled on Friday after heavy security turned a World Trade Organisation (WTO) mini-summit site in Sydney into a fortress.

A ring of steel fencing, concrete barricades and hundreds of armed police, some with guard dogs, locked down the WTO conference site at the 2000 Olympic Games venue in western Sydney as trade ministers from 25 nations met.

A group of about 500 protesters confronted police at barricades near the meeting venue on Friday and tore down a section of fencing. Police responded by crossing the barricades to push back the shouting protesters.

“This is the (New South Wales) state government using its police to defend the rich and powerful behind these fences,” said protester Brian Webb as police pushed protesters back.

Police commander Dick Adams said 35 protesters were arrested after the brief scuffles. Two police suffered minor injuries.

“I am extremely happy and I make no apology for the fact that we were well prepared,” Adams told reporters as protesters began drifting away from the site in drizzling rain.

“We created a perimeter around this place to make sure that we could ensure the safety of the delegates that were coming here,” Adams said.

Rowdy, chaotic protests in Sydney's business district on Thursday resulted in 18 arrests and police were determined protesters would not reach the conference site.


The two-day Sydney WTO meeting, which ends on Friday, is the first by trade ministers since the Doha round of trade talks last year and aims to smooth the way to the next full WTO conference in Mexico in 2003.

The meeting was attended by WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Takeo Hiranuma.

With 17 developing countries present, the talks had a special emphasis on the developing world.

The key focus in Sydney was the freeing up of cheap medicines to developing nations to fight HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis, while preserving intellectual property rights of drug companies.

Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile said the meeting produced a convergence of views on delivering cheap medicines to the world's poor.

“We’re going to send a very strong instruction back to Geneva to conduct the fine tuning processes,” Vaile told reporters.

Supachai said making cheaper medicines available would help garner support from smaller nations for free trade goals.

“We need to build trust among the member countries, particularly those coming from the developing world, so that we can gather momentum to move on with the rest of the round,” he said.