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Czech Republic: IMF Prepares for Prague Demonstrations

Associated Press
July 31st, 2000

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The director of the International Monetary Fund said Monday he is confident that authorities in Prague are ready to handle possible riots during the IMF and World Bank meeting that will be held in the Czech capital in September.

''I have full trust in the government and the authorities and preparations,'' Horst Koehler said after meeting parliamentary speaker Vaclav Klaus during a brief inspection visit to Prague.

During his visit, Koehler also was to meet with 12 representatives of several non-governmental organizations that are to take part in demonstrations protesting the IMF and globalization during the annual meeting.

''We are open for discussion and dialogue, we are not hiding ourselves,'' Koehler said. ''On the other hand, we should also be clear there are still the governments and parliaments who are in charge of their countries.''

Some 20,000 protesters from all over the world are expected to arrive in Prague to stage demonstrations during the meeting.

Later in the afternoon, Koehler was also to meet with President Vaclav Havel.





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