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Summary of S-26 events in Prague by IMC-Praha

Summary of Tuesday's S-26 actions in Prague by IMC-Praha. Posted at 3:57 AM Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2000
Tuesday September 26 saw the outbreak of massive demonstrations against the IMF/World Bank annual meeting that is taking place here at the moment. Protestors from all over the world collectively besieged the summit with up to 20,000 people maintaining a circular blockade of the conference facilities, and some even gaining access to the heavily-guarded complex itself. Protests were city wide and numerous, both peacful resistance and active confrontations occured with a single united voice - Shut down the IMF - Shut down the World Bank.

People started gathering in Namesti Miru square at 9 o'clock in the morning. Various artistic events unfolded including a massive sound system, a vast inflatable globe and numerous banners expressing discontent with the IMF/World Bank in several different languages. The IMC Praha was present with a Public Access Terminal, allowing people to upload their reports and views directly to the website.

At around 12 o'clock, the demonstration split into three different groups - yellow, blue and pink - and started to approach the conference centre where the IMF/World Bank meeting was taking place. The 'yellow' march took the main route to the big bridge leading to the conference complex. Led by Italian and Spanish groups linked to the Ya Basta! movement - dressed in white foam-padded overalls and carrying heavy shielding - they approached lines of heavily armoured riot police occupying the bridge. For more than two hours groups were pushing against police lines, but the narrow bridge which was covered entirely with armoured police vehicles proved to be a too difficult location to break through to the conference centre. In the afternoon, an assembly held by Ya Basta! decided to leave the bridge and to join the other marches.

The blue march moved down the valley separating the city from the centre and met heavy police resistance. Stones and other objects were thrown at police while the latter unleashed a combination of concussion grenades and tear gas. A number of protestors managed to climb up a hill and got close to the conference complex, while down in the street massive confrontations between demonstrators and police were continuing until the late afternoon.

The pink group, including the Samba Band, managed to get around the conference complex to approach from the other side. Changing locations and directions quickly and spontaneously, a large group of protestors took the police by surprise several times and finally got close to the centre. Some protestors managed to occupy parts of the complex, before the police responded with heavy charges, using concussion grenades, tear gas and serious physical violence. However, peaceful blockades remained around the centre until the early evening, locking the delegates in for several hours.

As it got dark, thousands of people were blocking the Opera and other locations where the delegates were planning to spent the evening. There were confrontations between riot police and large groups of protestors all over the city, some protestors were engaged in targeted property damage (banks, McDonalds). The police retained control in some locations but looked completely out of control in others.

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