Socialist Worker

Activists prepare for protests at G8 summit in Northern Ireland

by Gerry Carroll in Northern Ireland
Issue No. 2357

Two big protests are planned in Belfast on Saturday of this week against the G8 summit. Further protests will take place on Monday and Tuesday.

The leaders of the rich G8 countries will meet at a golf resort in County Fermanagh next week.

Police in Northern Ireland are preparing to arrest hundreds of people.

A six-metre high fence estimated to have cost £4 million will protect world leaders from the protesters.

David Cameron has ludicrously tried to use the publicity generated by the G8 to claim he wanted to eradicate hunger. 

But his cuts have increased it—more than half a million people in Britain now use food banks to get by.

Cameron also tried to make himself look tough on corporations, saying he wanted more “transparency” in who owns them.

The visit of the G8 to Fermanagh in Northern Ireland on 17 June is being presented almost like a music festival rather than an event where serious decisions are made by the world’s superpowers.

At the same time the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), politicians and press have combined to present protests at the G8 as being one of tremendous disruption and chaos.

Hundreds of cells in Maghaberry prison have been “cleared” for protesters, not to mention the use of a former army base in Omagh to detain people. But it gets better, for the first time ever in Northern Ireland there will be Sunday court sessions to prosecute people.

So not long after parks were considered unholy on the sabbath it seems that Sunday court sessions are par for course. On top of all this there will be two US style drones hovering over the North during the time of the G8 visit and police occupying buildings in a bid to stop them being occupied.

Much like the London riots the according to one Superintdent Hamilton "The aim is to make the process as quick as possible,” in other words arrest, process and prosecute within few hours.

The PSNI and their supporters say these measures are designed to “Protect World Leaders”. The fact is, this works as a normalising process of undemocratic measures for the state. The next time there is big student protest or anti-bedroom tax protests, these same measures can be wheeled out without much objection.

At one time Sinn Fein would have raised their concerns about such measures but they have accepted the PSNI and have prominent member Gerry Kelly sitting on the policing board.

The Stormont parties are claiming the G8 visit will bring jobs and investment into the North. On this point there is no denying they are correct. Over 3,500 Metropolitan Police and other “personnel” will get overtime for arresting protesters.

Despite the hatchet job by the media and police there will be a number of events against the G8. On Saturday the Irish Congress of Trade Unions along with a host of other NGOs have called a big demonstration in Belfast City centre to highlight opposition to the G8, preceded by a number of political lectures and cultural events.

Sunday 16 June will see a G8 Counter Summit organised by G8 Alternative activists in Belfast, discussing radical ideas and how we can build resistance locally to austerity and Neo-Liberalism.

This will be followed by a protest on Monday 17 June in Enniskillen supported by the trade union movement with buses coming from across the country.

Despite the difficulties ,we have a real opportunity to build a movement which opposes wealth inequality and the war agenda of the G8.The task of the left is to build networks of people, who can mobilises and organise for the battles ahead ,when the G8 leave Fermanagh.

Protest in London to mark the G8 summit. Meet 12.30pm, Friday 14 June, Jubilee Plaza, outside the west exit of Canary Wharf tube station

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News
Tue 11 Jun 2013, 17:35 BST
Issue No. 2357
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