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30 March, 2009

Thousands protest job loss and corporate bailout as G-20 meets


So the Indian prime minister still loves Bush? From Palestine to Iraq to Europe, voices of anger, hope and resistance from across the gigantic wave of protest in London is rising like a tide each passing moment. This marks the first landmark of mass peaceful resistance in the Obama era.

London: From Palestine to Africa to Iraq and Afghanistan, from the global witch-hunt of the poor to the pampering of predator capitalism which has compulsively failed and is being shamefully bailed out by corrupt capitalist regimes, from global warming, climate change and the campaign against war and mindless bloodletting, post-Obama, this is perhaps the first and most gigantic collection of people in the heart of Europe who have taken up the war on the streets as a gigantic wave, albeit peacefully. Feminists, mothers and daughters, workers and trade unionists, peace activists, ecologists, Leftists, anarchists - who have threatened violence - voluntary organisations and resistance groups, and thousands of students, teachers, activists and ordinary citizens, they are all out there celebrating a great resistance and ‘call to arms' against the collapsing machinery of capitalism.

"The growth story is over. The stock market is dead. No free run for the free market. This is the graveyard of capitalism," chanted students, as the leaders of the G-20 countries prepared to meet here next week in the backdrop of the worst international financial crisis in decades. Thousands of people from across the globe have gathered to protest against what they call "their crisis" and to launch a people's charter. Tens of thousands of people, increasing their number each passing moment like waves of humanity, including more than 150 trade unions, gathered at Victoria Embankment and marched past the Parliament and through the centre of London and gathered at the rally site in Hyde Park on April 29 in what is considered as the first push in the West against neo-liberal capitalism away from the universally hated Bush era.

‘Put People First' was the underlying motto as the demonstrators braved chilly cold and rainy weather carrying banners that read, ‘Jobs, Justice and Climate'. Organisers said the first demonstration against the G20 meet is just a trailer, signaling a series of massive protests everyday and on April 1 and April 2 when the G20 leaders and top bankers meet here. The authorities fear, that as always, the radical anarchists might usher in a wave of scattered violence as top leaders, including neo-liberal Indian prime minister and US President Barack Obama, prepare to join the summit. "So the Indian prime minister still loves Bush, does he; so what's he going to tell Obama, that he still loves Bush," sniggered a SOAS student, holding a banner, "Hey Barack, come, join the barricades."

"When the economy grows, banks, corporations and speculators, driven only by greed, gamble other people's money in their global casino. When they lose ‘confidence' in their profit-making schemes and panic, the bubble bursts and we pay the price," said a trade union member of British trade union confederation to Hardnews, reading what he called ‘The People's Charter.'

"This protest is against the G-20 leaders that are trying to protect banking systems, protecting the rich and the corporations. Britain is in deep economic crisis and our government is spending ‘our money', billions of pounds, bailing the big banks and big corporations out of ‘their crisis'," said 25-year-old Lisa who works with a call center in London. "It is unfortunate that nobody is interested in addressing poverty, global warming and wars but at G20 they are going to push for millions of dollars to protect corporations and banks," she said, adding that the protest was not confined to protesting this bail out but had a larger goal, "the climate justice, to end the war in Iraq and Aghanistan, end occupation in Palestine".

"We want peace, dignity and the right to build a prosperous life through our own labour and in our own interest," said a member of the African People's Party. "This is a war on want," read one banner. ‘The Worst is Yet to Come, ‘More Action is Coming', read other banners. Tanghe Xavier, a union leader and a representative of Socialist Group from Belgium who had come with over hundred people from Belgium, said all "sane sections of society want to put the people first in the agenda and not the interests of the businessmen, bankers and speculators. "We want to kill neo-liberal capitalism."

An Israeli woman, Yael, held a pre-1948 map of Palestine, explaining and highlighting the areas where ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians have been taking place ever since and where the territories have repeatedly been annexed by Israel. Yael, who had left the Jewish State in 1991, is part of the ‘Islington Friends of Yibna' group in London which is a small organization of Pro-Palestinian Jews living in London. Yibna is a refugee camp near Rafah, close to the Egyptian border, where Yael grew up.

The organisers said that all the protests in coming days will to be peaceful. Observers said this was the largest ever demonstration in London after the peace rally when Iraq was attacked. Indeed, there is an overarching anger here against the policies of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his proposed ‘rescue package' has triggered this collective sentiment.


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