Activists slam police for blocking anti-IMF event in Bali

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AFP) – An anti-globalisation conference on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s annual meeting this week in Indonesia has been cancelled due to pressure from national police, activists said yesterday.

The planned event set to kick off yesterday – the “Peoples’ Global Conference against IMF-WB” – has had its approval yanked by police, and the venue host cancelled, organisers said.

“While the local police has already issued a recommendation in favour of holding the conference, the national police is now using the local village leadership and paramilitary saying that no event can be held without its permission,” organisers of the Peoples’ Global Conference said in a statement.

The alternative conference, which had attracted around 300 registrants from Indonesia and around the world, was to bring together dozens of civil society groups to draw attention to the impact of free trade and IMF-WB backed policies that critics say aggravate income inequality, abuse labour rights and hurt the environment.

Organisers said police intelligence personnel had infiltrated the event planning team as volunteers, and subjected them to intimidation and constant surveillance.

Hoax banners of the event carrying logos of terror-linked organisations as co-sponsors also appeared around the planned venue in Dangin Puri Kangin village, near the island’s capital Denpasar, the organisers said.

“They are trying to intimidate and even ban our democratic activity in relation to the World Bank and IMF,” organiser from the Peoples’ Global Conference Kurniawan Sabar told AFP.

A small group of anti-IMF demonstrators shout and hold up placards saying ‘Stop the attacks’ in one of the main venues at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Nusa Dua on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali. – AFP