DAVOS, SWITZERLAND – Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland executive director Tony Juniper was detained by Swiss security police today for attempting to take a bag of letters to the World Economic Forum.
Juniper planned to take a bag containing 170 letters addressed to politicians in the Forum calling on the elected representatives of the world’s people to hold multinationals to account for bad practices.
At first the Swiss police providing security for the WEF refused Mr Juniper, who was fully accredited to all areas of the conference, access to the venue. After 40 minutes they invited him in to the security area and away from campaigner colleagues.
However, once in the security area, Mr Juniper was seized by the arms and frogmarched off the main road passing through the venue. His bag containing the letters – already shown to the security staff ? was seized and he was prevented from either entering the conference building or leaving.
After a further period of detention Juniper insisted on leaving and was released without being able to deliver the letters.
Juniper immediately informed the WEF that he was not prepared to participate in events today and Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland is considering whether he should walk out of the WEF altogether
Juniper said: “The theme for the WEF this year is building trust. What a joke. Will Colin Powell or the CEO of Nestle be frogmarched behind the building and searched before they are allowed in carrying a bag with their greenwash material? How can ordinary people trust the WEF and multinationals if they engage in this kind of suppression of voices which are different to their own.”
The incident occurred on the day the WEF itself published research which found: Heads of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are the only leaders who are fully trusted in most countries. See www.weforum.org
Tony Juniper +44 7712 843 207
Matt Phillips +44 7817 314 706
Craig Bennett +44 7810 558 250
Miriam Behrens, Pro Natura – Friends of the Earth Switzerland, +41 (0)79 216 02 06