Citing concerns about unruly anti-globalization protests, the World Bank yesterday canceled a three-day conference that was to take place next month in Barcelona, Spain. The conference would have gathered academics together to talk about ways to ensure that the poor benefit from lower trade barriers and other aspects of globalization. The city was planning to have 4,000 riot police on hand to control protesters. Caroline Anstey, a bank spokesperson, said, “A conference on poverty reduction should take place in peaceful atmosphere — free from heckling, violence, and intimidation. It is time to take a stand against this kind of threat to free discussion. It is not a cave-in; it is the opposite.” Groups that were organizing the protests, meanwhile, celebrated the cancellation as a victory. The bank will instead hold the conference on the Internet.

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