Rich Pickings to Combat Poverty

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Edinburgh gears up for the protests against the G8.

There is no doubt that the G8 meeting next month in Gleneagles will be marked by huge protests. The Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign has brought together a huge number of people and organisations dedicated to exposing and ending the vast inequality suffered by millions around the world.

MPH's website has links to dozens of NGOs, trade unions and campaigns that support them. They even have an electronic 'white band' - the symbol of the campaign, which supporters can add to their websites. You won't have to travel far on the internet before you find a progressive website with the band in the top right hand corner. Unfortunately, however, for an organisation with the high profile that MPH has, there is little else on their site - an opportunity to email Tony Blair calling for an 'end to the scandal' of poverty in Africa to be Blair's number one priority after the election, but little else.

MPH is mobilising for events in Edinburgh on Saturday 2 July, but to find out more about the other protests at the G8 and how you can get involved, readers will need to look elsewhere. The first stop should be the website of G8 alternatives. There is a mass of information, details and resources for the six days of events around Gleneagles and Edinburgh. It also has all the important information about what accommodation is available in Scotland for that period.

In addition to the MPH protest, there are a number of key events taking place - the blockade of the Faslane nuclear base being one. The slogan for this protest, 'You can't end poverty unless you end war', aptly sums up the link between the G8 and war, as well as exposing the hypocrisy of Blair and Brown as they talk about making the world a better place.

Organised by Trident Ploughshares and CND, there is much more information about the blockade at the Faslane G8 action website.

The day after the Faslane blockade, protesters will converge on the Dungavel detention centre - this is where hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers are imprisoned, many to be deported back to war, poverty and oppression. According to Barbed Wire Britain there are over 1,800 people locked up in detention camps like Dungavel around Britain, and new centres are planned with a capacity of 4,000 by this government. With such scandalous plans from the government, it is important that the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, and opposition to their scapegoating are at the heart of the G8 mobilisations.

More useful statistics and information on refugees can be found at the website of the United Nations Refugee Agency, though some of the website is quite cringe-worthy, particularly the section of Goodwill Ambassadors.

Previous international mobilisations against the G8 or the IMF in Europe have been fantastic festivals of unity and solidarity. I was lucky enough to be at the Drop the Debt protests organised in Birmingham when the G8 last visited the UK in 1998. The 50,000 people who turned out amazed everyone, and anyone who has ever been to such an event will never forget it.

But for those of us who went, the events and protests in Genoa against the G8 in 2001 were by turns inspiring and shocking. To relive them, or be reinspired to go to Gleneagles you can visit Undercurrents' archive of photos and video footage from Genoa or UK Indymedia's archive of featured articles, which has more on the subsequent trials and campaigns for justice.