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35,000 march in Barcelona
World bank dare not show its face
THOUSANDS of people demonstrated against the World Bank in Barcelona in Spain last weekend. This is despite the fact that the World Bank, one of the main enforcers of neo-liberal policies of privatisation and cuts, had cancelled its meeting because it feared the protests.
ANDY DURGAN of En Lucha, Socialist Worker’s sister paper in Spain, was there. “IT WAS fantastic. There were 35,000 people protesting in the centre of Barcelona, in Spain, on Sunday. That is taking into account that the World Bank didn’t come. There have been huge meetings leading up to the event. The march itself, against the World Bank and the effects of globalisation, was brilliant. There were delegations from all over Spain and beyond.
Four hundred collectives supported the mobilisation-including political groups, tenants’ associations, trade unions, campaigns and even churches. A counter-conference called “Another World is Possible” was also held over the weekend.
The Spanish press said that there were 5,000 people at the opening meeting on Friday night to hear Susan George, leading campaigner against capitalist globalisation. Around 4,000 people came to the workshops over the weekend. There were discussions about the fights against globalisation, about peasant campaigns around the world and taxing financial speculation. There were groups against the US’s Plan Colombia, and for open borders and the rights of immigrants.
Last weekend’s events confirm the anti-capitalist movement is growing. There has been a lot of hysteria in the press against the protests. The right wing Spanish government even tried to make the demonstration illegal. But the campaign took them to court and won the right to march. The government was worried by the previous week’s anti-capitalist demonstration in Gothenburg, Sweden.
All Barcelona’s police had their leave cancelled, and they bussed in riot police from the Basque Country. There were police everywhere. Thousands of plain-clothes police were stopping everyone. The police action was very nasty. Some sections of the Spanish media have exposed the fact that a gang of 25 undercover police with masks on infiltrated the demonstration.
They then provoked violence and gave the police an excuse to attack. The police attacked the demonstration. They charged into the main square and smashed up a lot of people. The police occupied the main square.
They made sure the rest of the protesers’ activities, including a public trial of the World Bank and a blockade of the city’s stock exchange, didn’t take place. Most parties on the left, including some people in the Socialist Party, which is similar to the Labour Party, are demanding the resignation of the civic governor because of the police violence.
The vast majority of the demonstrators-over 30,000 people-were mobilised from the area around Barcelona. This is around the size of Manchester or Birmingham. If the World Bank had actually come the protests would have been twice the size.”
All roads to Genoa
THE NEXT step for anti-capitalist protesters is the meeting of the G8 eight richest countries in Genoa, Italy, on 19-21 July. World leaders, including “Toxic Texan” George Bush, will be there. Bush is so worried by the protests he will stay on a US aircraft carrier during the summit.
The new right wing Italian government had come out extremely hard against the planned protests. Silvio Berlusconi, the new Thatcherite prime minister, talked of closing down Genoa to outside protesters, and even of moving the G8 meeting to a ship off the coast.
But the level of the mobilisation has forced Berlusconi to backtrack. The Italian interior minister has said that the demonstration planned for Saturday 21 July will go ahead. The government is expecting 150,000 people to come to Genoa that day. There have already been protests in Milan calling for Genoa to be an open city in July.
One thousand people are coming to the protests from the south of Italy in a special boat called the Odissea. Four thousand people are travelling on special trains from Naples.
A cavalcade is travelling through towns and cities in the south to pick people up. A wide layer of people and groups back the anti-G8 mobilisation-including student and unemployed collectives, trade unions, and the far left Communist Refoundation party.
Even sections of the Blairite PDS have said they will be on the protests. Thousands of people from Britain are intending to hit the G8 in July too. Globalise Resistance, the anti-capitalist group, has already filled a train to Genoa.
There are still places available on another train, and Globalise Resistance is now putting on coaches from London. On top of that people will be going by car, on coaches organised by Drop the Debt and the World Development Movement-and by hitch-hiking.
PAUL ROBINSON, a UNISON union member in Camden, central London, is still being held by Swedish police after the Gothenburg anti-capitalist protests. He is being held in isolation with no chance of bail or trial by jury. He has been cut off from everyone he knows.
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Contact Globalise Resistance phone 020 8980 3005 or email [email protected]
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