IMF-World Bank meeting protesters slam Indonesian police for blocking counter-event in Bali

Photo: Peoples’ Global Conference Against IMF-World Bank/Facebook
Photo: Peoples’ Global Conference Against IMF-World Bank/Facebook

A counter-event protesting the IMF-World Bank annual meetings taking place in Bali right now is sounding off against Indonesia for blocking their conference through use of police and local village leadership.

The Peoples’ Global Conference against IMF-WB, an anti-globalization conference said that they have had to cancel their event after getting approval yanked by police and the venue permit pulled, organizers said in a statement shared with Coconuts Media.

The PGC was set to kick off Thursday.

“While the local police has already issued a recommendation in favor of holding the conference, the national police is now using the local village leadership and paramilitary saying that no event can be held without its permission,” PGC wrote in the statement.

More than 300 people, including Indonesian and international participants, had registered for the event, which was to criticize the impact of free trade and IMF-WB backed policies, which are accused of aggravating income inequality, abusing labor rights, and hurting the environment.

PGC organizers claimed that Indonesian police intelligence personnel went undercover, volunteering on the events planning team and used intimidation tactics, as well as incessant surveillance.

Organizers said they received text messages warning them to stop all planned actions, while hoax banners of the event carrying logos of terror-linked organizations as co-sponsors were spotted hanging around the planned venue of Dangin Puri Kangin Village, near Bali’s capital city, Denpasar.

“They are trying to intimidate and even ban our democratic activity in relation to the World Bank and IMF,” Kurniawan Sabar, an organizer from the Peoples’ Global Conference, told AFP.

“We were having the conference to discuss how IMF and World Bank projects affect people.”

National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said police had acted lawfully.

“Any activity to gather people must be regulated and that activity had no permit,” he told AFP.

“We have an international event going on there (in Bali) … do not taint it with activities that could ruin the country’s reputation.”

Around 32,000 delegates have flooded Bali for the IMF-World Bank meetings, which the island has greeted with thousands of security personnel set around key venues in Nusa Dua.

Delegates are focused on maintaining global growth amid increasing protectionist sentiment and escalating trade tensions between China and US.

PGC doesn’t seem to have thrown in the towel yet. Sabar says they are looking for an alternative venue and are in the midst of negotiations with Indonesian police.

With reporting from AFP

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