gsg | 29.10.2004 13:57
Anarchists plotting to disrupt top summit
By Brendan Montague
Anarchists are plotting to disrupt a summit of the world’s most powerful business leaders at a country estate.
Anti-capitalists have vowed to cause havoc at Wilton Park Conference Centre at Wiston House in Steyning next Friday [5th November].
Among the grandees invited to the 16th Century country house will be US treasury officials and bankers from the International Monetary Fund and German Stock Exchange.
Wiston House has hosted high-level conferences for the past five years and said this was the first time it had been targeted by anarchists.
Anti-globalisation groups have been using websites, text messages and private email groups to gather hundreds of protesters to disrupt the International Rule Making for Global Capital Markets conference.
Campaigners will gather at a secret location in Brighton the day before to discuss options for “direct action”.
The protests are being backed by the Dissent Network which boasts a “confrontational attitude” in organising direct action, often involving damage to property.
Groups affiliated to Dissent refuse to talk to the Press but details of the protest have been posted on a website.
The internet posting said: “We are calling for people to resist the meeting however they see fit.
“The purpose of the conference is to facilitate informal networking and frank discussion between those who have the power to facilitate the smoother management of the global economy.
“This is a system based on the daily exploitation of the vast majority of the world’s population, the pursuit of war and the destruction of ecologies.
“We are calling for groups and individuals across the country to resist the meeting on the international elite planned to take place at Wilton Park.”
Wiston House, set deep into the countryside at the foot of the South Downs, boasts academic independence with a not-for-profit ethos.
The centre is run by an executive agency of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and receives £1 million in private donations.
Participants, who in the past have included former international development secretary Clare Short, will relax and take part in off-the-record discussion in the refurbished, oak panelled common room and extensive gardens.
Its chief executive Colin Jenkins said, “The meeting is going ahead.
“The details have been removed from the website because of the nature of some of the internet traffic about it.
“This is basically banks and government officials from a number of countries and academics, meeting to discuss how markets are run.
“There will be debates about whether they are regulated enough to deal with scandals like Enron.
“This is a brainstorming exercise in the same way all our conferences are.
“We have never had a protest of this nature I feel it slightly surprising they feel this particular conference should attract their attention.
“We do not take this lightly and are leasing very closely with the police, who are responsible for security.”
Sussex Police refused to comment on the event.
Among the speakers will be Liberal Democrat South East Euro MP Chris Huhne.
He said, “This will add a bit of spice and excitement to the proceedings.
“I was at the IMF international conference in Prague where there was a massive protest and riot police. They caused huge disruption.
“I have been to Wiston House before and I would be surprised if they found it easy to gain access because it is an old country house in the middle of substantial gardens.”
Dissent: Left, rioting at the IMF Conference in Prague and below Wiston House.
The Argus, Friday October 29, 2004
NOT MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE:
Meeting Points on Friday 5th November:
Steyning, 14:30: Playing Fields, Vicarage Lane, Steyning (opposite St. Andrews Church, next to Steyning Community Centre).
Brighton, 12:30: The War Memorial, Old Steine.
For more information: www.freewebs.com/shuttheg8 or 07837 942373 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com