Demonstrators bar entry of delegates to Melbourne WEF summit

Monday 11 September 2000 15.33
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Melbourne Police, Clash with demonstrators
Melbourne Police, Clash with demonstrators
S11 Demonstrators, Trap West Australian Premier in his car
S11 Demonstrators, Trap West Australian Premier in his car

Anti-globalisation demonstrators succeeded in barring the entry of up to 200 delegates to the World Economic Forum summit in Melbourne. According to a WEF official, the action trapped the delegates in a convoy of buses. As protesters' ranks swelled to several thousand, between 200 and 300 WEF delegates were trapped in their busses outside Melbourne's Crown Casino for over six hours.

The Geneva-based director of communications and public affairs for the WEF said that the protesters' blockade had proved frustrating for delegates trapped outside. Charles McLean said that protesters failed to realise that their concerns were shared by those trying to attend the forum. However, a spokesman for the S11 protestors said that they had delivered on their promises. David Glanz told Australian television that thousands of protesters were united in protest, overwhelmingly in a sense of festivity and fun and unity and determination.

The summit has 850 accredited delegates and speakers, drawn from the ranks of the business and political world, including global figures such as Bill Gates, the head of Microsoft. Hundreds of journalists have also been assigned to cover proceedings, with many also caught out by the protesters' cordon. The radical protesters intend to continue their efforts to shut down the summit tomorrow.

Earlier, West Australian Premier, Richard Court, was trapped inside his car for over an hour by demonstrators protesting against his state’s laws relating to Aboriginals, refugees and the environment. It has been reported that at least eight people, including five police, were injured in clashes. Police estimated that 1,500 demonstrators filled the streets around the city centre's Crown Casino complex. However, witnesses at the scene have said that the figure appeared to underestimate the numbers.