Protesters have gathered outside the venue of this year’s Bilderberg conference, slamming it as a gathering of criminals.
Established in 1954, the Bilderberg conference is an annual meeting of political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and media sectors.
On Saturday, large numbers of protesters gathered near the Interalpen-Hotel in Tyrol in Austria, where the four-day event was underway amid tight security.
The protesters accused the delegates of corruption, elitism, and lacking transparency.
Before the meeting ends, thousands of activists are expected to gather outside the hotel.
According to the group’s published agenda, some 140 participants from 22 countries have confirmed their attendance in this year’s conference, during which a range of subjects are being discussed, among them “artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, chemical weapons threats, current economic issues, the European strategy, globalization, Greece, Iran, Middle East, NATO, Russia, terrorism, the United Kingdom, USA, and US elections.”
Among this year participants are former President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, UK Chancellor George Osborne, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, German Defense Minister Ursula van der Leyen, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank Paul M. Achleitnerand Shell manager Ben van Beurden.
The main rule of participation in the conference, which labels itself a “forum for informal discussions of global relevance,” is that while participants can use received information, “neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed.”
“Thanks to the private nature of the conference, the participants are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions,” a Bilderberg press release says. “As such, they can take time to listen, reflect and gather insights.”
In order to safeguard the event, which usually attracts large numbers if protesters and journalists, and its guests, a 50-kilometer safety zone has been created around the hotel.
Some 2,100 Austrian police officers along with a further 300 German police forces are manning the safety zone.
Although the names of attendees in Bilderberg meetings as well as the events’ agenda are available online, the group holds its meetings in private and there are no press releases about them, which has raised suspicions about the Bilderbergers.
The group first convened in 1954 at the Hotel de Bilderberg in The Netherlands, the place after which the group was named.
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