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Davos: The police are not to blame
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The police of the canton of Grisons and the assisting units have fulfilled their duty in all respects, particularly last Saturday during the unauthorized demonstration, protecting the World Economic Forum (WEF) and its guests during the presence of the US President. Unfortunately, two policemen were injured, property was damaged and guests were attacked by violent demonstrators. The demonstrators are responsible for that situation. Contrary to the US reports, the US President was at no time in danger. Neither were other participants or those in most danger such as heads of state in the conference building or in the Hotel Belvédère during the reception for President Clinton. They did not suffer in any way from the violence on the streets. The President of the Swiss Confederation Adolf Ogi, Prof. Klaus Schwab and the US Delegation have expressed their appreciation for the security measures and personally thanked the police.
US security officers were not engaged in any action during the demonstration in any way whatsoever. They were merely protecting the US President in co-operation with the Swiss police forces. The police tactics were to protect the WEF and its guests in the first instance and they were entirely successful in doing this. At the same time, further escalation and the splitting up of the demonstrators throughout Davos and at various focal points had to be prevented. Such an escalation would have been unavoidable had the police used heavy defense equipment at the outset. Injuries to many people including innocent passers-by and guests and damage to the WEF itself would have been immense. We made sure we would not be branded as scapegoats for Seattle.
The police were very understanding about the annoyance displayed by the population of Davos and their guests after the damage to property caused by the demonstrators and their aggressive behavior. We would be pleased to discuss this with anyone to clear the air, particularly concerning all the circumstances and our assessment of the situation. We shall make suitable arrangements after the WEF.
The police were ready at all times to adopt a harder approach but the risk which could possibly arise from it to the whole operation had to be weighed up in relation to the need to protect the WEF, its guests, the population of Davos and businesses. In any case, this was a question of preventing escalation of the trouble and danger to the VIPs who had to be protected.
Source: Graubünden Canton Police
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