Socialist Worker

Gleneagles protesters defy police

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 1959

The march to Gleneagles (Pic: Duncan Brown)graphics/2005/1959/gleneagles_lg.jpg<span class=red » Larger version

The march to Gleneagles (Pic: Duncan Brown) » Larger version

Thousands of protesters defied police intimidation to demonstrate against the G8 summit in Gleneagles this Wednesday, marching up to the fence which surrounded the hotel where the G8 leaders were meeting.

Despite road blocks stopping coaches, police refusing to allow demonstrators to board coaches in Edinburgh, and police announcing that the march was cancelled on the day, around 15,000 gathered in Gleneagles.

Locals greeted protesters with peace signs, smiles and waves. The demonstration showed the anger millions have against the war, poverty, attacks on democracy and neo-liberal policies represented by the G8 leaders.

The size and militancy of the march showed that many people do not trust the G8 to deliver anything for people or the planet.

It showed that people wanted to participate in direct action against the leaders of the world and their policies, not simply listen to pop stars at the Live8 concerts.

Lindsey German, the convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, told protesters, 'The police have stopped coaches at every stage. They have said the protest was cancelled. Then they said only 5,000 people could demonstrate.

'Who are they to decide how many people can demonstrate? We are told we live in a democracy — but they won't allow us to demonstrate as we want. We are standing up for the right to protest.

'We'll keep protesting until we get a world of equality, where capitalism doesn't dominate everything — a world not of the billionaires but of the people.

'It is one world against eight people and we will win.'

Respect MP George Galloway said, 'The police do not have the power to cancel demonstrations in Britain. Thousands have been turned away by the decision of the police today, by the roadblocks and the searches.

'We are against violence. The most violent people on earth are not the demonstrators, but the violent criminals meeting in Gleneagles Hotel. They are responsible for the death of millions of people around the world because of their system of globalised capitalism, wars and destruction of the environment.

'If the police wanted to do the world a favour they would go into Gleneagles and arrest the whole gang.

'The G8 Alternatives group, who organised the demonstration, have bravely said that we have the right to demonstrate and we will exercise it.

'I have declared to Mr Blair that I will not carry your ID cards when you introduce them. We are free people, not numbers or sheep. We will not be told what to say, where to gather and where to protest.

'We are speaking for all the oppressed a free people of the world.'

Rosie Kane, Scottish Socialist Party MSP, told Socialist Worker, 'It is important to come and burst the bubble of the G8 today. We have to raise our voices collectively so that they know we're out here.

'We have seen the state at its worst today, because we are a real threat. Our voices were loud enough today to get past the blockades. One day they will be loud enough to end the G8.

'This movement won't go away, because the G8 won't go away.'

Writer and activist George Monbiot said, 'Surrounding the cage around Gleneagles Hotel shows that those leaders in there do not have legitimacy. We have broken the false consensus today, which runs from Live8, through Make Poverty History to Brown and Blair.

'This says that we are all singing from the same songsheet. But we are not begging for more crumbs from the G8 table. It is the rich man's table. It is an illegitimate institution and does not represent the world and its people.

'It is a table that should be taken down, smashed and turned to firewood.

'There is a great danger that Make Poverty History can be captured by people like the writer Richard Curtis, who is so close to Gordon Brown that he cannot distinguish between the interests of the G8 and the interests of the world.

'They create the impression that these are one and the same.

'Today's protest is the popular expression of the popular will — that the interests of the poor are not the same as the rich. The G8 represents no one but itself. We do not fetishise its power. We reject it. It is not democratic.

'They are G8. We are six billion and we are bigger.'

On the march (Pic: Duncan Brown)graphics/2005/1959/gleneagles_march_lg.jpg<span class=red » Larger version

On the march (Pic: Duncan Brown) » Larger version

On the march (Pic: Duncan Brown)graphics/2005/1959/gleneagles_african_lg.jpg<span class=red » Larger version

On the march (Pic: Duncan Brown) » Larger version

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