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article imageIMF chief heckled by students at University of Amsterdam (video)

By Anne Sewell     May 8, 2013 in World
Amsterdam - Christine Lagarde barely got a chance to open her mouth when giving a lecture at the University of Amsterdam, when student hecklers rose up and started a typical Occupy mic check.
On Tuesday, during a lecture at the University of Amsterdam's economics department, a group of Dutch, Greek and Spanish students rose up and started a mic check, confronting the former French Finance Minister and current Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with a number of questions she would rather have avoided.
Students attending the lecture had been asked to submit questions before the "debate". However, they were angry that their notes had apparently been ignored by Lagarde.
Economics editor for Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad, James Chin-A-Fo attended the meeting. He said that the students were calling in the spirit of things: "We are not against promoting growth, are also not against it on the budgets. But in the meantime, unemployment rises in some countries."
Chin-A-Fo summed up the situation as follows:
"They were told to submit questions in advance. The protesters say the questions they had sent in, were not selected. This was according to them "pre-cooked". That is why they wanted to disrupt the meeting. A critical dialogue is so impossible, according to them."
So the students stood up and started a mic check in true Occupy style, to get their concerns across.
While being dragged from the scene, one activist asks, "Madame Lagarde, on why technocracy is better than democracy. I am very much a believer that it's the action that matters, much more than the flurry of political promises and statements and slogans."
Yet another later asked Lagarde why the IMF submits developing countries to Western imperialism, to which Lagarde responded that “we will not do that question”.
Despite academic freedom at the University and civil liberties in general in the Netherlands, the group, which included Dutch Occupy protesters, Spanish indignados and Greek activists associated with ReINFORM, were immediately tackled by the security and event organizers and removed from the scene.
According to NRC Handelsblad, some of the event organizers appeared to act like a "gang" perfectly willing to use physical force to remove the students.
In true Occupy and activist form, the protesters allowed security to remove them and behaved quite peacefully, showing that the only threat they were posing to Lagarde was an intellectual one.
Students interrupt a talk by Christine Lagarde of the IMF at the University of Amsterdam
Students interrupt a talk by Christine Lagarde of the IMF at the University of Amsterdam
An intellectual threat it seems the organizers of the event were not willing to allow. With the IMF being at the heart of a major controversy for its management of the European debt crisis right from the start, this is no real surprise.
Euronews reported that Lagarde urged all euro members to push for banking union, quoting her as saying, “Obviously what we pursue, is stability, and clearly there is need for that at the moment for a stable discussion to be heard.”
Video: Further scenes of the protest plus an interview with Lagarde about Greece:
More about Imf, Christine Lagarde, university of amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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