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Share The World's Resourcs at the G20 demonstration, London, 28th March 09


Share the World's Resources joined thousands of protesters on Saturday 28th March to march through the streets of London, advocating for the leaders of the upcoming G20 Summit to ‘Put People First!’.

With a turnout estimated by police at 35,000 people, the protest was a fitting prelude to the predicted ‘summer of discontent’ in response to the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s. The peaceful rally, billed as one of the largest demonstrations the city has seen since the massive rallies six years ago against the invasion of Iraq, was timed to coincide with the gathering of G20 world leaders who meet in London on April 2nd to coordinate a response to the economic downturn.

The demonstrators walked the four miles from Embankment to Hyde Park amidst brass bands, clowns, and a colourful array of flags and placards with such slogans as ‘People Before Profits’, or ‘More Jobs, Not Bombs’. In a carnival atmosphere despite the downpours of rain, speeches by the activists Tony Juniper, Susan George and comedian Mark Thomas inspired the crowds with their varied calls for green jobs, a low-carbon future and a recovery plan that includes the world’s poorest. Several other speakers called for a massive investment in a ‘green new deal’ that can build a green economy based on decent work and fair pay, as well as a new relationship between environmentalists, industry, agriculture and trade unions.

As part of the Put People First! coalition of more than 150 organisations sponsoring the event, Share the World’s Resources (STWR) had a visible presence on the day. Our huge blue banner reading ‘One Planet: Share The World’s Resources’ was widely photographed, caught on a helicopter camera and screened on French television. The STWR stall in Hyde Park pulled in swathes of protestors keen to get their hands on the free STWR T-shirts that were distributed after the march.

Global Demonstrations

While the Put People First! coalition marched through London, tens of thousands of protestors instigated a grassroots mobilisation in other countries including Germany, France and Austria.

About 15,000 people took to the streets in Berlin, Germany, some sporting headbands proclaiming “Pay for it for yourselves”, and others carrying a black coffin topped with red roses which they claimed to symbolise the death of the present economic system. A demonstration held in Germany’s banking capital, Frankfurt, was organised under the slogan “We won’t pay for your crisis”.

In the centre of Vienna, 6,500 protestors made their point with paper piggy banks, balloons and signs that read ‘Capitalism can’t be reformed’. About 200 protestors in Paris dumped a pile of sand outside the city’s stock market as a parody of offshore tax havens.

The Put People First! coalition, formed as the economic crisis deepened at the end of 2008, aims to make the financial crisis the impetus of real economic change by influencing four central policy areas: prioritising people, jobs, justice and the environment.

Democratic governance of the UK and global economies is at the centre of an agenda that pushes for a firmer legislative stand on tax havens, reform of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and transparency and accountability in international finance

The alliance also urged the UK government to commit to a substantial resource transfer from North to South, and to support sustainable development in poorer countries - free of damaging conditionalities. The impact of Put People First! will be echoed at the fourth gathering of the Camp for Climate Action on 1st April, taking place in the city of London.

After the G20 Summit, Put People First! will turn its attention to the UN’s crisis summit on the global economy in June 2009, before pressurising leaders to agree to substantial, verifiable cuts in greenhouse gases at the Copenhagen conference on climate change in December.

Further resources

  • Put People First!
  • Climate Camp G20