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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Topless feminists protest at Davos Summit

Sulaiman Kamal | 10:55 PM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Three topless Ukrainian protesters were detained today as they bid to break into an invitation-only gathering of CEOs and political leaders to call attention to the needs of the world's poor. 

With temperatures around freezing in the snow-filled town, they took off their tops and tried to climb a fence before being detained.

After a complicated journey to reach the heavily guarded Swiss resort town of Davos, the Ukrainians arrived at the entrance to the complex where the World Economic Forum takes place every year.

Protest: Activists of the Ukrainian feminist nudity group FEMEN demonstrate
as Swiss police officers look on during a protest at the 42nd Annual Meeting
of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
'Crisis! Made in Davos,' read one message painted across a protester's torso, while others held banners that said 'Poor, because of you' and 'Gangsters party in Davos.'

Davos police spokesman Thomas Hobi said the three women were taken to the police station and told that they weren't allowed to demonstrate. 

    He said they would be released later today.

    The activists are from the group Femen, which has become popular in Ukraine for staging small, half-naked protests to highlight a range of issues including oppression of political opposition. 

    Detained: Swiss policemen arrest an activist from FEMEN during their topless protest today
    They have also conducted protests in other countries.

    'We came here to Switzerland to Davos to explain the position of all poor people of the world, to explain that we are poor because of these rich people who now sit in the building,' said protester Inna Schewcenko.

    They were joined by demonstrators from the Occupy movement, which started with opposition to practices on Wall Street, who marched separately to the edge of the gathering.

    They held a separate demonstration in Davos and a small group of their protesters are now camped in igloos in Davos to call for more help for the needy.

    About 40 Occupy protesters gathered in front of the town hall. 

    Some held placards with slogans such as 'If voting would change anything, it would be illegal' and 'Don't let them decide for you, Occupy WEF.'

    Topless: An activist shouts slogans during a topless protest against the World
    Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos

    Nippy: A topless Ukrainian protester gives in to Swiss police after
    voicing concerns about the economy
    They then marched toward the forum, prompting about a dozen police officers to hastily erect a mobile barrier as shoppers looked on with bemusement.

    The demonstrators chanted anti-capitalist slogans, remaining about 30 meters from police lines.

    One member of the Occupy camp was invited to speak at a special event outside the forum on Friday night to discuss the future of capitalism, while British opposition leader Ed Miliband was also speaking.

    Feminism: Nudist group FEMEN clash with Swiss police during a protest
     at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos
    Soon after the panel discussion began, some activists in the audience jumped up and started chanting slogans, and the protester panelist walked off the stage.

    Other members of the audience told the activists to 'shut up' and arguments disrupted the panel for about 20 minutes. 

    During the summit, however, the U.N. trade chief urged global leaders to focus much more on reducing inequalities around the world than constantly looking to appease financial markets.

    Supachai Panitchpakdi, the head of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, pointed to protests at the forum and around the world to highlight the growing disparity between frustrated unemployed young people, who have no voice, and the financiers who continue to reap huge salaries.

    He said 'Today we do everything to please the financial markets and you can see the financial market going and going, but they don't serve the real economy. They serve themselves.'

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