Socialist Worker

G8 Alternatives: A week of protests and debates challenges G8

Issue No. 1959

The main protest at Gleneagles, where the G8 leaders are set to meet, had not taken place when Socialist Worker went to press.

But a number of protests and other events had already taken place following last Saturday’s huge Make Poverty History demonstration.

The G8 Alternatives counter-summit

THE counter-summit, held in Edinburgh last Sunday, was an enormous success.

Some 5,000 people attended — the biggest indoor political meeting that Scotland has seen.

Every meeting — from the workshops to the seminars — was full. At 10am 1,100 people listened to a discussion on imperialism and war.

Many people were critical of the Live8 events. They wanted more than a concert and a passive message.

Activist Bianca Jagger laid into Bob Geldof and Bono, saying that they were trying to co-opt the movement.

Around the world people are facing the same enemies — war and neo-liberalism. A victory for one part of the movement, such as the French no vote against the European constitution and the recent Bolivian uprising are to be celebrated.

That was one of the strongest messages coming out of the G8 Alternatives summit.

The mood was one of taking the movement forward.

Gill Hubbard, G8 Alternatives

Blockade of Faslane nuclear submarine base

When I got to the military base at Faslane on Monday morning at 7.15am there were already police and protesters in place.

Everyone was really well prepared and the atmosphere was lighthearted.

There was a real mix of protesters including the clown army, trade unionists, older people who have been involved in the campaign for a long time and young people from across Europe.

We sat down, blocking the four gates and closing down the base for the day.

We thought that when we sat down for the protest that the police would move in and begin arresting people. That’s what people were prepared for.

But it just didn’t happen. There were a huge number of police at the site who would have had no problem arresting people on this non-violent demonstration — but it was almost as if they were afraid to.

They knew that they would show the world the scale of the protest and the make-up of it — and that would get more people to Gleneagles on Wednesday.

Elaine Heffernan

Just under 2,000 people attended the blockade of Faslane.

The four gates of the base were obstructed by protesters and police were forced to give up on attempts to clear the roads into the base because of the large numbers.

Coaches from Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh brought local and international activists.

Many new anti-nuclear protesters were present, as well as long-term campaigners who were surprised with the success of the blockade.

One demonstrator suggested, “Next time we’ll have to blockade for two days!”

Protesters were clear about the links between the system that allows development of Trident and global poverty.

Gaynor Barrett and Tim Hinton

Protest at Dungavel detention centre

Protesters were gathering at the Dungavel refugee detention centre as Socialist Worker went to press.

They were there to attend a protest to defend the rights of asylum seekers’ who are held at the centre.

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Sat 9 Jul 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1959
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