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Protesters Demonstrate Peacefully at WEF - 2002-02-02

Protests remained low-key as activists held their biggest rally outside the World Economic Forum in New York. The turnout of about 1,000 was smaller than expected.

The message of demonstrators gathered outside the New York hotel hosting the World Economic Forum was in keeping with past protests of global economic meetings. Liz Barry, dressed in a slightly deflated planet earth costume, and wearing tape over her mouth, says she was there on behalf of the world's "silent majority."

"The corporate leaders in there are committing corporate terrorism across this planet," said Ms. Barry. "As they accumulate their monetary capital and build their wealth, ecological capital, the ecological health of our biosphere system is being drained. They are sucking the blood out of the human populations that are supporting their corporate empire."

But the scene outside the 2002 WEF has been essentially peaceful, more of a celebration of the anti-globalization movement than a violent voicing against anti-globalization issues.

Authorities report only a few minor incidents of vandalism and disorderly conduct. In fact, one of the only hints of real confrontation came as a group called "Free Republic" angrily protested the protesters themselves, specifically, those with an anti-war message.

A man named "Owen," who described himself as having narrowly escaped death in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, held a placard which said, "Traitors, Welcome to New York." "Frankly, I'm incensed," he said. "And it's a good thing they have all these cops here, because most of New York City wouldn't tolerate these people. We wouldn't allow it. These people are traitors because they're giving aid and comfort to our enemy by protesting a war that is clearly defensive."

Many believe that the absence of more violent demonstrations is directly connected to September 11. Out of deference to New York City and what it has recently had to endure, those here to condemn what they call "the immorality of multi-national corporations" say they are careful to make their point without making trouble.