G20 protests planned

October 21, 2006

On November 18-19, Melbourne will host some of the world's most brutal warmongers and economic rationalists. They will be meeting under the auspices of the G20, with this year's meeting chaired by Treasurer Peter Costello. A chief architect of the US war on Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, will also be present, in his capacity as World Bank president.

Like most G20, and G8, meetings, this gathering will be met by protests. On November 18, demonstrators will gather at noon outside the State Library on Swanston Street, then march past the Grand Hyatt on Collin Street where the G20 will be meeting. The rally be will co-chaired by the Stop-G20 collective and the Melbourne Stop the War Coalition, and the march will finish in a street party.

On November 19, the Melbourne Social Forum will host a G20 Alternative conference to discuss world debt, poverty, climate change and renewing the anti-capitalist movement.

The G20 is an economic battering ram against the majority of the world's countries and peoples. The G20 member countries — the G8 members (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and the US) plus 12 other countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey) — represent about 90% of the world's economic production and 80% of world trade. G20 meetings are also attended by representatives of the global financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Its brief is to promote policies designed to eliminate restrictions on the international movement of capital, deregulate the internal economic workings of countries, create flexible labour market conditions, promote privatisation of national infrastructure, enforce intellectual and other property rights, create conditions favourable to foreign capital investment and promote "free trade".

The Stop-G20 collective is the main organising point for the Melbourne protests. Its members include activists with the Stop the War Coalition, Friends of the Earth, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance, Ska TV, Indymedia, the Melbourne Social Forum, the International Socialist Organisation, Socialist Alternative, A Space Outside Collective and others.

The Melbourne Stop the War Coalition is organising G20 protesters around the demands "Stop the war in the Middle East" and "Stop the war on the Third World". StWC member Tim Doughney told Green Left Weekly: "While more than 30 people are dying every day in Iraq, as a direct result of the invasion and occupation by key G20 members, they will be talking about improving financial transactions and accountability between member countries.

"This is unjust and immoral, and we will be protesting to show that the G20 has its priorities completely the wrong way around. We need to call the US, British and Australian governments and business leaders to account."

For more information, visit <http://www.stopg20.org> and <http://www.melbournesocialforum.org>.

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