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Occupy Davos: Protesters Ready Igloos For World Economic Forum

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OCCUPY DAVOS
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By Emma Thomasson

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Occupy protesters with their sights set on the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering next week of the rich and powerful in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, unveiled their igloo accommodation on Monday.

When fully erected, Camp Igloo will include two heated teepees and a field kitchen alongside the ice houses to sleep about 50 people in sub-zero temperatures, activists said.

Davos, which brings together politicians, central bankers and business leaders, has become a byword for globalisation.

The Occupy Wall Street movement burst onto the scene last year to focus attention on income inequality and the perceived greed of the rich and powerful. Copy-cat protests sprung up in cities around the United States and worldwide.

But authorities have cleared many tented encampments and the movement has lost some momentum during the northern hemisphere winter.

"It is the decisions of the few which have led us into the crisis of recent years and now the same people are posing as the solution to these problems," David Roth, president of the youth wing of the Swiss Social Democrats, told reporters at Camp Igloo, near the Davos train station.

"This is the wrong solution as it is undemocratic and cynical. Democracy is not only the right path for the Arab states but is also urgently needed again in the West."

The Swiss campaigners invited activists from around the world to join them at the camp, being set up with permission in a car park outside the tight security cordon that surrounds the World Economic Forum meeting.

"Don't let them decide for you! Occupy WEF!" read a banner draped across the first igloo, which took five hours to build.

Speaking at a podium made of snow blocks, Roth said they planned to build several more igloos, each sleeping two people, and pitch two heated teepees and a field kitchen.

He said he was in contact with WEF organisers to promote dialogue with delegates at the meeting.

In its Global Risk Report released last week, the WEF cited rising inequality as one of the biggest threats to the world economy in coming years. (Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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