Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Students, citizens return from protest

At least three Madison community members were arrested in New York this weekend as part of the World Economic Forum protests. Of the over 50 estimated UW-Madison students and Madison community members participating in Saturday and Sunday’s marches and police scuffles, none were reportedly detained for extended periods of time or injured.

Although most of the UW-Madison students returned to campus early Monday afternoon, the arrested community members were designated to drive vans of other protesters home and may have delayed departure. The detainees may have included WORT employee JoAnn Powers, according to Madison contact for protesters and UW Greens employee John Peck.

Although many of the protesters affiliated with one of the participating groups, such as UW Greens, Left Turn, International Socialist Organization and Mad at the Bank, came in close contact with police forces Saturday, no UW students were arrested, said UW graduate student and ISO member Eric Rehder.

“There were more police there than I ever imagined,” he said. “The police were mean, belligerent and actually trying to initiate violence from the crowd.”

By accounts of most major media organizations, rallies outside the Waldorf Astoria were tamer than anticipated. According to New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, over 300 police forces lined the streets.

UW students say some tear gas was fired. In a confrontation early in Saturday’s march, held under the confines of a legal demonstration permit held by group Another World is Possible, Rehder said police began shoving and bullying ralliers who were doing no more than shouting.

“Sure, there was some hooting and hollering from the crowd, but the cops were shoving people who were just standing there doing nothing to provoke the cops,” he said. “It was ridiculous, just like a high-school shoving match.”

Protesters had no form of either aggression or defense, save a few shield-like devices some at the front of the demonstration carried. Reider said police may have seen the shields as an attempt to mock or oppose police power, but in his mind they were a “sign of peaceful resistance.”

Sunday saw an increased number of arrests, with only one reported incident of vandalism from the crowd. A reported 159 arrests were made Sunday alone, bringing the number of total demonstrator arrests for the weekend to 200. Most arrests were for disorderly conduct.

Gene Marshall of Mad at the Bank said the only methods of demonstration that could be classified as “disorderly conduct” that students participated in were sitting or standing in unauthorized intersections.

The activist movement most commonly known as “anti-globalization” is made up of dozens of fragmented groups with different specific messages, united because all are critical of economic and political dominance by a world superpower. Ray Pingree, an engineering student, is new to protesting. He said he “had a bunch of friends who were activists in town” who sparked his interest in the movement. Joining them, he traveled by van to New York. Pingree said he was never worried that the rallies would turn violent.

“The mass basis for this movement was just trying to get points across,” Pingree said. “Some individuals or small groups were confrontational. All of the people I was going with were peaceful, so that’s all I had to base my expectations off of, so I wasn’t expecting it to be non-peaceful.”

Although Rehder said the sheer number of protesters — an estimated 7,000 — was effective in expressing an anti-globalization message, students rallied with the goal of advancing democracy, not speaking directly to world leaders and business executives participating in the forum across the street.

“They’re not going to listen to us; they know the deal already. But protesting has gained significance since Sept. 11 because we need to show that corporate globalization is still happening even since the attacks.”

Marshall said some protesters intended to speak directly to world policy-makers.

“They went down to let the people in the Waldorf Astoria know that they are excluding some points of view and the rest of the world doesn’t appreciate being left out of the debate,” he said.

World business and political leaders wrapped up their annual gathering Monday, with participants saying they had forged a new global agenda out of what often appeared a sprawling, unfocused talkfest.

Meeting for the first time in New York instead of its Swiss resort home of Davos as a gesture of solidarity after the Sept. 11 attacks, the World Economic Forum tried to tackle new issues ranging from bioterrorism and interfaith dialogue to understanding the anti-globalization movement.

–Reuters contributed to this report

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