President of the Indian Inter-State Coordination Committee of Farmersí Organisations in German police-arrest
500 people from the south, who came to Cologne for the World Economic Summit and who wanted to laugh at the "Gang of the Seven", were stopped by the police even before entering the subway to the city centre. They were surrounded and some of them even arrested. Among them also Vijay JAWANDHIA, president of the Inter-State Coordination Committee of Farmersí Organisations, and his wife.
In this moment (Saturday, 19th June 1999, 1 a.m.) there are still at least 6 people in police-arrest. The Police was talking about 17 people, who where taken to the police office. Our number of people missing is much higher! At least 30 had been arrested.
The InterContinental Caravan for Solidarity and Resistance has made a protest tour through Europe for one month now. Apart from India the participants also come from Brasilia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mexico, Columbia, Pakistan, Chile and the Ukraine. They have made non-violent actions in eleven countries of Europe. Now they wanted to laugh about the heads of the world - and this seemed to be too dangerous.
Among the people surrounded by the police there were six journalists. Although they were showing their press cards, they were not allowed to leave the police circle for nearly two hours.
The police surrounded about 350 participants of the caravan at the subway-station Boltensternstrasse for more than three hours. According to records by participants the police used brute force to get hold on the people. People from the Caravan were beaten up and pushed on the ground. At least two demonstrators needed medical support. Besides some policemen made related to the foreign demonstrators racist remarks like "It stinks here".
Nearby, on the Ebertplatz, 500 European demonstrators, who wanted to join the laugh-parade have also been surrounded by the police. In this case the police behaved more sensible and let them go.
The reason given by the police for this massive operation is not plausible. The police pretends, the Caravan was planning to occupy crossroads in the city centre of Cologne - according to a leaflet, they say. This leaflet does definitely not exist.
They planed and announced to laugh at the global leaders in a "Laugh Parade" on the central place in Cologne. In India this is a kind of action in ghandian tradition called "satzagraha". Even a spokesman of the police admitted that there had been no violence on the side of the Caravan, neither on this event nor during the action against the multinational Bayer the very same day.