DUBAI - Greenpeace will dock its flagship Rainbow Warrior outside the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting in Doha from November 9-13 to push environmental causes, the group said Monday. Representatives of local communities from the five continents whose livelihoods may be affected by WTO decisions will be among about 35 people on board, Greenpeace political director Remi Parmentier told AFP. He said permission was granted to berth the vessel in full view of the conference hotel during a meeting with Qatar's Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani in Doha on Sunday.
"The Rainbow Warrior will be a platform to ensure that those who are most directly affected by WTO decisions and are all too often ignored have their voices heard," Parmentier said. "The ship will also be a magnet to canvass and rally more support for Greenpeace's 'Greening of Doha' agenda." That agenda demands that the WTO stop promoting free trade at all costs. "We campaign to promote international cooperation and security for the global environment and development," Parmentier said. Greenpeace said it had not given the Qataris a guarantee they would not take part in any protests in Doha. "We are going to be responsible and the presence of the Rainbow Warrier is an action in itself," Parmentier said. "We have to be sensitive," to Qatar's security concerns, he added. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been assured by the Qataris that they will be allowed to stage peaceful protests, but the September 11 terror attacks in the United States appear to have dampened plans for protest. Many anti-globalisation demonstrators rampaged through the streets of the US city of Seattle during the last WTO ministerial conference in 1999 causing serious disruption. The protests shocked the authorities and helped to ignite a worldwide movement against economic globalisation. It also led to the choice of Qatar in a bid to prevent trouble. "We want to show the WTO they can run but they can't hide," Parmentier said. Qatar's laws generally restrict freedom of assembly and forbid political demonstrations. French agents sank the original Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand in 1985, but Greenpeace acquired the Rainbow Warrior II three years later.Agence France Presse: