This year’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland – where hundreds of the world’s most powerful people are gathering this week – will be protected by as many as 5,000 troops from the Swiss Armed Forces.
The meeting kicked off Monday and will run until Friday, Jan. 20. The Swiss army had already begun deploying to Davos, a resort town in the Alps mountain range, as early as Jan. 6, according to Swiss public media.
The WEF is an international organization, founded in Switzerland in 1971 by the German economist Klaus Schwab, that brings top world and business leaders together to manage the global system.
This year’s 53rd annual Davos meeting will be attended by top U.S. bankers; German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; the presidents of Spain, South Korea, Poland and dozens of other heads of state; as well as celebrities, including actor Idris Elba and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Reuters reported.
The annual Davos meeting consists of panels, speeches, and conferences on global issues, but also serves as an exclusive networking event. President Joe Biden will not be attending the event, unlike his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, Reuters reported.
Thousands of Swiss troops guard the event every year, assisting local authorities from the Swiss state of Graubünden, where Davos is located. The Swiss Federal Council approved up to 5,000 troops for each Davos event from 2022 to 2024 and pledged 2,550,000 Swiss francs annually for security, according to the nonprofit Swiss Federalism.
The troops “play no part in law enforcement services,” according to the Swiss Armed Forces website. Instead, they’re at Davos to “protect objects, persons and airspace,” transport people and coordinate medical services.
The theme of this year’s meeting is “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.” Titles of upcoming talks include “Disrupting Distrust,” “The Clear and Present Danger of Disinformation,” “Stewarding Responsible Capitalism,” and “100 Days to Outrace the Next Pandemic.”