Doha to Allow Peaceful Demonstrations at WTO Conference
Qatar will allow peaceful demonstrations during the World Trade Organization (WTO) conference in Doha November 9-13, and will not use violence against protesters, Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani said on Monday.
"We are in favor of the organizations of peaceful demonstrations ... but in case they spill over legal steps will be taken, but we will not resort to violence," he said, quoted by the official Qatari News Agency (QNA).
Humanitarian organizations have already warned that Qatar is likely to face unrest during the conference.
The choice of Qatar to host the WTO conference had prompted protests from non-governmental organizations who highlighted possible restrictions on the freedom to demonstrate and what they said was the un-democratic nature of the Gulf country.
During the last ministerial WTO meeting in the US city of Seattle in November 1999, anti-globalization demonstrators made their point loudly, to the point of disrupting the conference.
Replying to the criticism, Sheikh Thani said "we are halfway through the democratization process in Qatar and we are studying models (of democracy) applied in other countries – Albawaba.com