Protests against the G20 Summit in London

Article published on April 4, 2009
Article published on April 4, 2009
by Naomi Christie London, 2nd April 2009 G20 Protesters on the fringes of the exclusion zone of the ExCeL building in London were out-numbered by press and police on Thursday. Many potential protesters were walked away from the site of the protest early, where peaceful protests the came from a wide range of groups showing little cohesion with one another.

People campaigning against the attendance of the chair of the New Partnership for Africa Development, Meles Zanawi, were the strongest voice. Protesters accused Zanawi, who is Ethiopia's prime minister, of brutality against the people of the Ogaden region.

Placards for groups as disparate as the Socialists Workers Party, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament were to be seen alongside individuals who attended in their own right.

Cafe Babel reporter, Naomi Christie, spoke to a few of the people at the protest to find out more:

Marko_Perendija.jpgMarko Perendija, 29, Freelance film-maker, Serbia (resident in London) “I was just doing a documentary film about money and finance and the rest of it. I was hoping that we would see the reaction of the financial crash in the protest. There are way more press and police than anything and there seems to be no G20 protesters. There seems to be people from Ethiopia. It is very important to them, obviously, but not in the spirit of yesterday’s protests in central London. I am thoroughly disappointed. This is the twitter generation, where there are more cameras than show.”

Paul_Angell.jpgPaul Angell, 31, Freelance Camera man, Camberwell, London “It is all very post modern and cannibalistic.”

Abdi_Younis.jpgAbdi Younis, 28, Manager, Manchester “We are here today protesting against the brutal dictator of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi. He is here rubbing shoulders with world leaders when he should be in the Hague. The UN has evidence of this. What I am saying can not be proven because no media is allowed in the Ogaden. There are lots of political prisoners in the Ogaden. These people have been marginalised since the 1800s. The population is about eight million. We are here today to tell the world not to ignore another Rwanda in front of their noses. Meles Zenawi is responsible for crimes and he will soon be brought to justice. He is here today amongst the world leaders like Gordon Brown. He is a brutal dictator who has butchered his own people. I have relativeswho have experienced this.”

Will_Brown.jpgWill Brown, 49, Builder, Bristol “I am a trade unionist, socialist and environmentalist campaigning for a fairer world. My placard says 'World Revolution Now'. The plight of the polar bear reflects the plight of the environment. It is too late for small incremental changes, both on a climate front and on an economic front. What we are looking for is fast radical action from the governments represented here today. Climate change is made by economic and industrial processes. If you change the economy, that is going to effect the economic and industrial processes. It is no good saving the polar bears and having three-quarters of the world starving. As comrade Obama says, change has got to come otherwise we will all suffer for it.”

Carl_Smith.jpgCarl Smith, 32, Freelance web developer, Hackney, London “I am here just to demonstrate against what is going on in the world really. I am against our politicians and the bankers who are in each others pockets. I am totally screwed myself at the moment. Like I say I am a freelance. Most of my client base has been ripped from under my feet. I got made redundant right at the beginning of the credit crunch. I went back to freelancing and it has not really been very good since then. I have about £20 to spend on my food every week and not much to spend on socialising, and the stress factor of all the debts that I have. The fact that our government provides banks the right to print money - that is where lots of problems lie.”

William_Dare.jpgWilliam Dare, 24, Unemployed, Streatham, London “I came here because I always had an interest in politics. I wanted to add my voice to the protest. I did not come here with any political group and I did not want to be waving something with a political group on it. I just got given this nuclear disarmament placard. I am just here on my own. I used to be a temporary worker with a rail company before I got made unemployed.”

Gwyn.jpgGwyn, from East London Against The Arms Fair “We are part of the group East London Against The Arms Fair. We are particularly against another event which is on at the Emirates owned ExCeL centre which is the biggest arms fair in Europe. We came to make contact with other people interested in peace. This is where weapons are sold just for money and this is where people from poor countries who desperately need to invest in education and health care are persuaded to buy weapons. The fair is running from September 8 to 11 unless we get it stopped. We have delivered a petition to the ambassador of the Emirates States against the fair.”

(Photos: Naomi Christie)

Read more of our special coverage of the G20 London Summit here

- 03/04/09 - G20 London Summit: 'A summit like no other', by cj

- 02/02/09 - Live twittering (with more photos) from the summit margins took place here:

- 30/03/09 - Thousands attend the London 'Put the People First' Protest, by Kat