Two activists deported after protesting World Water Forum

March 17th, 2009 - 4:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Ankara, March 17 (DPA) Two environmental activists were deported from Turkey Tuesday for protesting at the opening of the World Water Forum in Istanbul Monday, a spokesman for a group in which they are members said.
Ann-Kathrin Schneider of Germany and Payal Parekh of the US - both members of the non-governmental organization International Rivers’ - were taken into custody Monday morning after unfurling a banner reading “No risky Dams” and shouting slogans just as the week-long water forum was about to start.

According to a press release issued by International Rivers’, the protesters called on participants at the forum to “embrace smarter and cleaner solutions” to the problems of water security around the world.

Unlike 17 people who were taken into custody at protests outside the venue Monday, the two International Rivers’ activists were accredited to attend the forum.

“This is a completely unacceptable overreaction to a peaceful protest,” International Rivers’ spokesman Peter Bosshard told DPA.

Some 20,000 people from more than 130 countries were in Istanbul for the forum which is held every three years. The forum aims to bring together people from both within and outside the water sector in order to find sustainable solutions to the world’s water challenges.

“The forum offers the water community and policy and decision-makers from all over the world the unique opportunity to come together to create links, debate and attempts to find solutions to achieve water security,” according the World Water Council which organises the event.

The forum runs until March 22.

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