Socialist Worker

‘We must apply pressure and force the G8 to act’

by Kelly Hilditch and Joseph Choonara
Issue No. 1958a

By train, plane, bus and car protesters came to Edinburgh. Nadia Fisher travelled by coach from Southampton — a journey of ten hours.

“I’m part of the Stop Aids campaign at Southampton University,” she said. “We’ve come here to give voice to the people who die from HIV and Aids around the world.

“The G8 leaders should be helping to fight against Aids. And cancelling the debt would certainly help. There are a lot of issues today — but ‘make poverty history’ summarises them all.”

Layla, a student from Leeds, said, “We have to march to make the politicians aware that the public is against them.

“We can make them listen — they have surrounded themselves with security because they know we are here. But we have to force them to act.

“If we stop applying pressure it will make them more confident.”

Maggie, who came from Perth with the local YMCA, expressed similar sentiments. “You would think that the politicians would start to listen to us after such a massive demonstration, but I’m doubtful,” she said.

“If we just go away quietly and sit at home then it will all fade away — it’s happened before. We have to keep on pushing them, keep on fighting, or they won’t do anything.”

There was a big turnout from trade unionists at the protest, many of them carrying union placards and wearing their union T-shirts and badges.

Renee Gillan works at a library in South Ayrshire and is a branch secretary of the Unison union. She brought a delegation with her to Edinburgh.

“We came here because we want to force the G8 leaders to give money,” she said. “Our kids watch television and ask why children in Africa are starving. We brought them along today to show what they could do to make a difference.

“Unions have an important role to play educating people about these issues. I learned about this movement through my trade union.”

Peter was on the Scottish TUC delegation to the march. “The Scottish TUC has been behind this campaign from the start,” he said.

“We’re also behind the protest at Gleneagles, which they have now had to allow. That’s when we’ll get a real opportunity to make our voices heard.”

Some on the demonstration felt that the G8 leaders could be persuaded to meet the demands of Make Poverty History. Others felt that wider change was needed.

Alistair, a young member of the Scottish Socialist Party, said, “We’ll have to go even further than the demands of the Make Poverty History campaign. I’d like to see some real democracy, and changes to how the whole system is run.”

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Sun 3 Jul 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1958a
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