Anti-IMF And Bank Protest Tear-Gassed

14 June 2000

In Malawi in May, a peaceful official demonstration, led by the Congress of Trades Unions, against IMF and World Bank reform policies and calling for the government to consider peoples’ needs before conceding to donors’ demands was broken-up by police with tear gas. The police acted when protesters tried to hold up placards denouncing the two institutions as President Bakili Muluzi and donors passed by on their way to the opening of the consultative group.

Muluzi, a former World Bank and IMF critic, defended the two institutions, saying “I remain convinced that the World Bank and the IMF mean well and are genuinely interested in assisting poor nations.”

The previous day donors had held a meeting with Malawi civil society, which also included a number of government officials such as the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Finance and officials from the Opposition party, to solicit views on various issues such as governance, women’s rights and poverty and human rights such as freedom of expression and labour issues.