Against the G8

I am proud – like many other Burngreave residents – to have protested against the G8 meetings. The G8 countries are eight of the world’s richest and most powerful: USA, Germany, Japan, UK, France, Italy, Canada and Russia. They met in Scotland on 6th July to discuss world trade, climate change and their ‘war on terror’.

Many anti-poverty campaigners believe that the purpose of G8 meetings is to keep themselves as the richest eight, at the expense of developing countries. They point, for instance, to the fact that poorer countries’ aid is dependent on them privatising their essential services, with western companies getting the contracts.

The Justice and Interior Ministers of the G8 countries met behind closed doors in Sheffield on 15–17th June. Their agenda was to discuss the ‘war on terror’ and international crime. Protestors, however, believed that they would use this as an excuse to introduce further moves towards a Big Brother state, including the introduction of compulsory identity cards in Britain. We got a taste of their plans when police banned demonstrations against the G8 ministers, while they wined and dined in Cutler’s Hall and the Winter Gardens. With the Pitsmoor Against the War banner at the front, we marched ahead anyway in the face of the biggest police presence in Sheffield to date.

Burngreave was a focus of anti-G8 activity, with local people helping to maintain a meeting and rest centre for protestors; producing and distributing leaflets; reporting events and playing in the Rhythms of Resistance Sheffield samba band. Banners were made and displayed in imaginative publicity stunts in Burngreave and Park Square roundabout. We also played a role in the important job of educating ourselves and the wider community about just how the G8 operates to keep the rich rich and the poor poor.

by Stuart Crosthwaite

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