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WSIS: Press Release on Civil Society Plenary Condemning Rights Violations

indy uk travelling circus | 12.12.2003 20:09 | WSIS 2003

Press Release about Civil Society Plenary condemning violation of the right to assemble and freedom of expression between Dec 9th and Dec 12th: closure of Polymedia Lab, confiscation of printed documents at Palexpo, dispersal, identification and temporary detainment of demonstrators.

December 12, 2003

The Civil Society Plenary, meeting in its final session during the first phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) taking place from December 10-12, 2003 in Geneva, unanimously condemns the undemocratic actions of the Swiss authorities and the Summit organisers in suppressing dissenting and alternative voices.

Over the past three days:

- The Polimedia Lab organised bz Geneva 03 collective (, meant to be an open space for participatory communication, was shut down by riot police on Tuesday December 9th, 2003.

- Printed documents critical of the WSIS and of the media and IT corporate monopolies were confiscated and prevented from being circulated inside the Palexpo, the official venue of the WSIS on December 10th, 2003.

- A peaceful demonstration of 50 local and international people at the Gare Cornavin, Geneva, on December 12th, 2003, protesting the WSIS and the corporate control of information and supporting community media, was surrounded by about 40 civil police and several vans filled with riot police, and prevented from continuing. Demonstrators were detained, searched, identified and those refusing to be identified were taken to the police station.

These events continue the pattern of political repression that has been a constant feature of public life in Geneva since the G-8 meeting in June 2003.

We strongly condemn these violations of the right to assemble and freedom of expression that have cast a shadow of hypocrisy over the summit.

For more information on these incidents, please contact Geneva 03, telephone 079-757-4372

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