A group of millionaires joined protests at the World Economic Forum in Davos, urging governments to ‘tax us now’.
The protesters, who dubbed themselves the “patriot millionaires”, called for higher taxes on the wealthy to tackle the “cost of living scandal unfolding in several countries around the world”.
The movement started in the United States and has since spawned a British offshoot.
The world’s political and business elite gathered for the first day of the conference on the Swiss mountaintop on Sunday after two years of disruption due to the Covid pandemic, with the war in Ukraine set to dominate the agenda.
Following a virtual forum in 2021, this year’s in-person event will be themed “History at a Turning Point”. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are among the key political leaders scheduled to attend.
Phil White, a former business consultant and member of Patriotic Millionaires UK, told the Guardian ahead of the event: “As the rest of the world crumbles under the weight of an economic crisis, billionaires and world leaders are coming together in this private complex to discuss turning points in history.
“It is outrageous that our political leaders are listening to those who have the most, know the least about the economic impact of this crisis, and many of whom pay sadly little tax.
“The only credible outcome of this conference is to tax the richest and tax us now. Tax delegates attending Davos 2022.”
Video: High security amid preparations for Davos (Reuters)
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His warning comes amid soaring energy prices in Europe caused by the war in Ukraine, as well as rising inflation.
Djaffar Shalchi, a Danish engineer, told the newspaper that it was difficult to gain public trust by organizing events where “the rich and powerful of the world meet behind layers of security”.
“The single most important thing Davos attendees could do to gain people’s trust is to recognize that the wealth and privilege they represent and protect are incompatible with a world where everyone can live a full and prosperous life,” he added.
WEF founder Klaus Schwab said this year’s event will be the “most timely and consequential” meeting since the forum more than 50 years ago.
Russia was excluded from the event after its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
WEF President Borge Brende said the decision was the “right decision”, adding: “However, we hope that Russia will follow a different path… in the years to come, to start sticking to the Charter of the United Nations and their international policy”. obligation. »
Elsewhere, police clashed with protesters from the anti-capitalist group “Smash WEF” in Zurich on Saturday ahead of the conference.
Police used pepper spray and rubber pellets to break up the march through the downtown district.
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