Gothenburg & the aftermath
The Göteborg actions: a severe threat to democracy
In the media all around Europe pictures of extreme violence have been shown during the last days from the counter meetings and demonstrations of the EU Summit. Opponents of the EU and of the globalisation process have been shown as stone throwers, communists, fascists and trouble makers.
The fact is that out of more than 100,000 persons participating in the Gothenburg events, only a hundred trouble makers succeeded in turning activists (professors from well known universities all around Europe, representatives of serious third world NGOs and representatives of EU and globalisation critical organisations representing the whole political scenery from right to left) into extreme radicals, breaking windows and throwing stones at the police.
University professors, members of the European Parliament and members of EU-critical organisations took part in the European Futures Congress, initiated
by Alternative to EU in Finland. Half of the participants from 20 countries - representing the Balkans, the Baltic states, Eastern and Western Europe - were young students, writes Ulla Klötzer, co-ordinator of European Futures Congress.
Young people from the Baltic and East European countries saw how quite "normal" youngsters with whom they had been sharing floor accommodation the night before, the night between Saturday and Sunday, were driven by machine guns out to the school front yard and had to lay down with their faces to the ground and hands behind their necks in pouring rain for more than half an hour. Every time somebody raised their head or wanted to change the positions of their hands, they were hit wherever the truncheon happened to land. Everybody was shouted at in a language that it is not proper to print in a newspaper. The most insulting comment came from the Chief of police Hakon Jaldung, who excused the violent action by the stress and the hurry but told the press that the youngsters could blame themselves since they had chosen to share the floors with possible terrorists. The young students attending the European Futures Congress felt extremely insulted and in the final debate on Sunday afternoon the disappointment in democracy, in a fair and peaceful debate between ordinary people, NGOs and the politicians was extremely deep - hopefully though still repairable.
Ulla Klötzer is the co-ordinator of European Futures Congress, initiated by Alternative to EU in Finland
Written by Luise Hemmer Pihl
Edited by Blake Evans-Pritchard, Lisbeth Kirk
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