Over 10,000 people packed Westminster in mid-April for a Trade Justice protest.
Many of them stayed right through the Friday night listening to speeches, praying, protesting or partying. It seemed like all of them are planning to come to the G8 in Edinburgh in July. There are plenty of other signs that the G8 protests will be massive. All available rolling stock has been booked from London to Edinburgh for 2 July, and NGOs in Leeds, in association with the local Stop the War group, are on to their second train.
The Scottish movement is expecting a minimum of 100,000 people in Edinburgh in July. That would make it probably the biggest protest ever in Scotland. Preparations are well under way to provide accommodation, food, debate and entertainment for as many people as want to come. The university is providing space for meetings and reception centres, and the council has agreed it will find sleeping space with showers and hot water for everyone who needs it.
Already there is a programme of protests, politics and entertainment running from the evening of Friday 1 July through to the demonstration to Gleneagles on Wednesday 6th. On Sunday 3 July there will be an alternative summit in Edinburgh with some of the leading activists and writers from the international movement including Fausto Bertinotti, Susan George, Scott Ritter, Trevor Ngwane, Ken Wiwa, George Galloway, Dita Sari and many more. On Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 of July there will be protests at Faslane and Dungavel and a series of forums and cultural events in Edinburgh.
On Wednesday 6 July there will be a demonstration to the hotel where the world's eight most dangerous men (they are all men) will stay. These advocates of freedom and democracy can't meet near population centres so they have chosen the £400 per night Gleneagles hotel for their deliberations, ten miles from the nearest town or city. This makes protests more difficult, but the Scottish movement is mobilising for a mass demonstration at Gleneagles. Coaches are being booked from across the country, and the G8 Alternatives organisers are demanding the right to march right up to the hotel gates. Despite the police's best efforts to spread hysteria, the local villagers of Auchterader keep telling the media they support the protesters and just wish the G8 wasn't coming in the first place!
It is very important to have the biggest possible turnout for all the protests in July. Gordon Brown is trying to pose as a spokesman for the poor in Africa, trying to win the support of the global justice movement for a set of proposals that will do nothing for the millions of victims of neo-liberalism. In July we must show the G8 that the people of this country really do want to make poverty history and that we reject the full spectrum of their policies from privatisation to war.
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