20 January 2009

Long Weekend

Absentmindedly reading the advertisements on the U-Bahn yesterday I noticed a sticker attached to the side of the carriage. SMASH WE CAN it read, with a website address: www.no-nato.de

Back online I had a look. It turns out that nearly every year since 1962 Munich has hosted the International Conference on Security Policy. The conference website lists some of the speakers from previous years. In 2008 speakers included Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, General Secretary of NATO, Mohamed Elbaradei, Director General of the IAEA and Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defence.

This year the conference takes place on 6-8 February at the plush Bayerischer Hof hotel in central Munich. Among the prominent participants, named on the conference website, will be Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy and Senator John McCain.

The protesters - who appear to go under the name of the Action Alliance - are appealing for supporters to join them in Munich on that weekend for a spot of 'planning, demonstrating and sabotaging.'

I'm not entirely sure who the 'Action Alliance' are but Die Linke - the German Left party - appear to be involved and, judging from the general anti-G8, anti-World Bank, anti-WMF, anti-globalisation, anti-capitalism tenor of the website I think it is fair to say that the usual suspects are behind it - the anarchists, the liberals, the leftists, the pacifists, the thugs, the dreamers, the exploited working classes who still appear to have time and money to travel the world protesting about their exploitation.

Undoubtedly the protesters will be met by an equally determined police force and I'm sure the city centre will be tightly patrolled and controlled. Fine if your behind the barriers at the Bayerischer Hof, but not much fun for the rest of us. If you were planning a weekend break in Munich any time soon I would give this particular weeekend a miss.

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