G20 : affrontement à Séoul- 7 novembre 2010


Police clash with G20 protesters


By North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy

8 11 2010

South Korean police have clashed with protesters rallying against the G20 summit to be held later this week in Seoul.

Tens of thousands demonstrated against the summit, which will be attended by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US president Barack Obama.

The demonstrators chanted slogans and carried huge banners denouncing the G20.

Carrying riot shields and wearing gas masks, the police used pepper spray to disperse the protesters.

Fearing violent demonstrations when world leaders arrive, police will deploy tens of thousands of officers around Seoul for the G20 summit, which starts on Thursday.

Security forces are also bracing for the possibility North Korea may also attempt to disrupt the meeting, with thousands of military personnel to be positioned at key buildings and on mountain areas overlooking the summit venue.

G20 activists clash with riot police in Seoul


Nov 8, 2010

Don Kirk

SEOUL // Thousands of riot policemen faced off yesterday against tens of thousands of demonstrators in the South Korean capital, in a preview of the protests that are expected to greet the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations when they gather here later this week to address the problems roiling the global financial system.

In the sprawling plaza in front of Seoul’s city hall, demonstrators carrying paper cups glowing from lit candles, denounced the G20 summit and sang hymns and songs glorifying leftist parties and labour unions as they surged toward police massed behind huge new riot-control vehicles deployed for the first time.

Columns of policemen in full riot gear prevented the demonstrators from marching on government buildings and the US Embassy. Earlier in the day, leftist political and labour leaders shouted slogans and gave speeches denouncing South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, for using a meeting of the leaders of the G20 – the Group of 20 nations made up of 19 countries and the European Union – « as an excuse to repress democracy, human rights and fundamental labour rights ».

A statement issued by protest organisers said a law passed by Mr Lee’s government to ensure security at the summit « hinders freedom of assembly and cracks down on migrant workers, street vendors and the homeless » in the name of « cleaning the streets ».

Police fired water cannons and small blasts of tear gas at some of the more belligerent demonstrators, and they were clearly relieved when the throng of protesters broke up into smaller groups and scattered down side streets, shouting slogans and singing songs but basically holding back on the threat of violence.

They demonstrators promised, however, to return in full force on Thursday, the first day of the two-day summit, when they plan to rally in front of Seoul station and march as close as possible to the National Museum, where the leaders and their entourages are scheduled to attend a reception.

Mr Lee, visiting the vast Convention and Exhibition Centre where the leaders will hold meetings, warned that « any small incident could undermine the whole event. »

Despite the prospect of further protests, the worst problem facing the summit may be how to circumvent the issue of currency revaluation, which will be the number one item on the summit agenda.

Barack Obama, the US president, and Hu Jintao, China’s president, are expected to discuss the topic when they dine with other world leaders on Thursday night in the National Museum. They will not hear the shouts of the demonstrators outside, but may find whatever is said within those dignified surroundings far more unsettling.

The United States has added to concerns by deciding to buy US$600 million (Dh2.2b) in government bonds, in hopes of stimulating its own economy. Critics say this will depreciate the value of the dollar in the face of other countries failing to meet US demands for revaluing their own currency.

The Chinese have signalled their opposition to the US move, asking why they should do anything about the value of the Chinese yuan when the US insists on lowering the value of the dollar.

China has a long list of sympathisers on that score, including all the other nations lumped together as BRICs – the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Despite vast differences among these nations, they have come to form a loose grouping due to their geographical size, high populations and aspirations to compete with the long-established industrial powers in the Group of Seven – that is, the G7, which comprises the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The operative phrase for the American move is « quantitative easing », commonly known among the financial cognoscente as « QE2 » – not to be confused with the QE2, as the great British passenger ship Queen Elizabeth II was known when it sailed the seas years ago.

Korean summit organisers are hoping that the Americans will not arrive in Seoul with strengthened demands.

They will be relieved if they settle on the waffling language hammered out by G20 finance ministers and central bank governors last month, when they agreed to resolve « currency imbalances » but failed to say how – or who – would enforce whatever they did


~ par Alain Bertho sur 8 novembre 2010.

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