The former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, has added his voice to those supporting the right to march past Gleneagles Hotel when the G8 summit opens on 6 July.
In a statement supporting the right to protest at Gleneagles he condemns a society in which “leaders of democratic nations need to isolate themselves from the challenges of their own citizens”. He also points out that “the right to peaceful protest is one of the most sacred prerogatives of citizens of a democratic society”.
The demonstration at Gleneagles, called by G8 Alternatives, is supported by the Scottish TUC and the Amicus union among others. It has been called to unite people in protest against the war, poverty, racism, pollution and inequality over which the G8 leaders preside.
The police seem determined to keep protesters out of sight and sound of the summit and have told protesters that they can only have a static rally in a park in the nearby town of Auchterader.
Campaigners in Scotland are not accepting this decision and have launched a campaign for the right to protest.
As G8 Alternatives spokesperson Gill Hubbard says, “We have marched past Downing Street, we have marched past Westminster, and we have a right to take our protest to Gleneagles to make our voices heard by the world leaders who make decisions every day in our name.”
Campaigners are encouraged by the recent victory of the Stop the War Coalition against the police’s attempt to stop its events during the G8 protests.
The Scottish region of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is one of the groups that have joined the campaign for the right to protest, stating that “The FBU takes the view that the proposed march past the hotel should take place.
“It is right and proper that the world leaders attending the summit are made aware of the valid and serious concerns of those protesting. As a trade union, we want to send a clear message that the eradication of world poverty must be a priority.”
The demonstration is gathering momentum across Scotland. Rose Gentle, mother of Gordon, a British soldier killed in Iraq, is calling on people to join the demonstration to protest against Bush and Blair’s war and lies.
Pensioners in Aberdeen are making a banner. Anti-debt campaigners and groups campaigning for affordable HIV/ Aids drugs are organising to publicise the day.
Branches of the Unison union are running free coaches, the STUC is recruiting stewards for the demo and African refugees are mobilising. Campaigners in Glasgow and Edinburgh have started filling ten double-decker buses from each city to take people to the demonstration. We will not be silenced.
Demonstrate at Gleneagles, 12noon. Wed 6 July, Gleneagles train station. For more info or to sign the statement supporting the right to protest go to www.g8alternatives.org.uk
For G8 diary see Diary