Assembly of the Poor: Solidarity statement

The Governor of Hong Kong and the WTO Must Stop All Violent Suppression  and Releases All Detainees!
It is well know that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a forum to direct global economic policy that, in reality, is being used and controlled by a few powerful nations and giant corporations to pressure and direct developing and less developed countries around the world into exploiting their citizens in order to satisfy the greed and meet the needs of these neoimperial global actors in the age of globalization.
Even though the WTO nominally promotes free trade, the reality is that it is a coercive trade block that uses its superior power to enforce its unfair rules that exploit farmers, workers, the poor and small-scale businesspeople around the world.
Thus, at every ministerial meeting of the WTO, people’s movements from around the world, such as the Via Campesina, global unions, environmental activists, human rights activists, and women’s organizations, have organized campaigns and protests to call on the WTO to seriously listen to the demands of the people who are adversely affected by WTO trade rules. At the 6th WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong, many people’s movements from around the world have gathered since December 11 to make their voices heard.
The Assembly of the Poor, together with many of their allies in Thailand, including trade unions, urban poor groups, and women workers, have sent over one hundred of their representatives to attend the WTO People’s Forum in Hong Kong and join with thousands of others from all over the world to protest the WTO itself.
From 17-18 December 2005, the people’s protests have been met with brutal violent action on the part of the Hong Kong police. Over 70 people have been injured and more than 900 people have been arrested, including 79 Thai people from the Assembly of the Poor. At present, all of those arrested remain in detention.
The Assembly of the Poor and its allied organizations condemn Mr, Donald Tsang, the governor of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Police Bureau, and Pascal Lamy, the Director of the WTO, for violating the people’s right to universal freedom of association. We therefore make the following demands:
1.    All detainees must be released immediately and unconditionally.
2.    The Hong Kong authorities must protect the safety and property of all detainees, regardless of their nationality, religion, or the language they speak.
3.    The member countries of the WTO must reconsider their trade policies and involve their citizens in the decision making process regarding trade issues.
However, we reaffirm that at every WTO ministerial meeting, the people’s movements will continue to protest non-violently until our voice is heard and the people are included in the decision making process regarding trade policy and agreements that affect the fate of the poor around the entire world.
The Assembly of the Poor and allied organizations.
18 December 2005