Police brutality condemned by international organisations

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On November 1st, 15 members of the European Parliament signed a letter to Czech President Vaclav Havel, in which they expressed their discontent over the way the Czech police dealt with demonstrators protesting against globalisation during the IMF/World Bank meetings that were held in Prague in September. Earlier, Dita Asiedu spoke to one of the signatories of the letter, Danielle Auroi, a member of the Green Party in the European Parliament, and asked her for a statement:

The concern expressed by the members of the European Parliament is in reaction to a large number of reports of police brutality made shortly after the IMF/World Bank meetings. The police allegedly beat and mistreated some of the protesters arrested, many of whom were foreigners.

One protester from Warsaw has agreed to testify against the police. He reported that they broke his tooth while arresting him and forced him to state that it was broken during a fall down a flight of stairs. He was then dragged into a cellar bound and blindfolded, where he was beaten and kicked for hours by policemen who had returned agitated from street battles with protestors.

The Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights has also sent a letter of complaint to Vaclav Havel, calling for a detailed investigation and for offenders to be punished. The federation says it is shocked by the Czech government's response to allegations of police brutality.

Despite the fact that the Czech Interior Ministry has launched two investigations, many Czechs believe that reports of police brutality are just another attempt by anti-globalisation protestors to discredit their opponents and receive pity and support.