The G20 economic conference doesn’t start until Thursday, but 35,000 protesters have already gathered in London and begun marching, according to official estimates. You’d think that an organised protest against reckless banking or feckless bailouts might make an impact. Unfortunately, the protesting community is hardly ever that focused. As the Wall Street Journal described recently, the protesters are taking the opportunity to draw attention to everything from Palestinian issues, climate change and probably every other vaguely leftist or progressive cause you can think of.
Our favourite part of the story is that banks have advised employees to dress down to avoid harrassment by protesters. So one guy interviewed on television this morning looked as if he wore all his usual clothes–crisp pink shirt, long wool coat, those Brit banker shoes Churches makes–but left off the tie. That’ll fool ’em, mate.
(We were kind of hoping for a banker counter-protest. “We’re broke, yer soaked, get used to it!”
The Wall Street Journal describe the major protest groups:
Web site Anarchy.net is urging followers to meet in the Square Mile on April 1 and “take back what’s ours.” It continues: “Join thousands of disgruntled, angry, pissed off people on the streets of the financial district. As the bankers continue to cream off billions of pounds of our money let’s put the call out — reclaim the money, storm the banks and send them packing.”
Protesters are being urged to “engage in the mass mobilization for the central demonstration in London on March 28.” According to the group’s Web site: “20 governments cannot decide on the future of the global financial system and economy.”
The group spells out its reasons for protesting next week in a statement on its Web site: “Their tax-dodging, bonus-guzzling, pension-pinching, unregulated free market world’s in meltdown and those fools think we’re going to bail them out. They’ve gotta be joking!” The group is planning a ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ theme with protests at Moorgate, Liverpool Street, London Bridge and Cannon Street.
On April 1, the group will campaign against the use of fossil fuels over alternative energy sources, and has urged protesters to: “Pull a prank that packs a punch.” It also encourages protesters to “spank a bank” by shutting down cash machines with “out of order” stickers, and provides guidance on how protesters can avoid arrest.
Protesting under the banner of “because nature doesn’t do bailout,” Climate Camp plan to converge on the European Climate Exchange at Bishopsgate at 12:30 GMT on April 1. The group’s Web site reads: “First the city traders speculated with our homes, jobs and money — with disastrous results. Now they are speculating with our climate and the very future of life on earth.”
Regional group Bristol Dissent has asked followers to crash the stock exchange on April 2 and, in their words, “eat capitalism for breakfast” and “disrupt the traders whose financial egomania perpetuates global injustice.”
Stop the War Coalition
The coalition, formed in 2001, has teamed up the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the British Muslim Initiative and the CND to hold a demonstration on April 1, which will assemble outside the U.S. Embassy at Grosvenor Square before moving to Trafalgar Square.
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The CND will play a large part in the protest due to take place outside the American Embassy on April 1, and also supported the “Put People First — Jobs, Justice and Climate” march on the morning of Saturday, March 28.
Government of the Dead
The radical group, which believes “the only Government is a dead government,” is set to meet outside the Bank of England at midday on April 1. On its Web site, the group said it hopes to create a better world from the “train wreck bequeathed to us by the decadent, decomposing corpse of capitalism.”
Put People First
The peaceful protest, which involves the General Union, known as the GMB, and the Trades Union Congress, as well as Friends of the Earth and Oxfam, took place on March 28. The protest’s Web site said: “There can be no going back to business as usual,” and advised protesters to meet at Victoria Embankment at midday and make their way en masse to Hyde Park.
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