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Sunday, 22 July, 2001, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Stars condemn G8 violence
Geldof, Bono and Italian singer Jovanotti
Geldof, Bono and Italian singer Jovanotti were in Genoa
Rock stars Bono and Bob Geldof have said violent protesters at the G8 summit in Genoa have hindered their campaign to wipe out debts for the world's poorest nations.

The pair were in the Italian city to meet world leaders on behalf of campaign group Drop the Debt.

"The violence isn't helping us," said Bono, lead singer with Irish group U2.


Anger is understandable when facing the obscenity of the ever widening gap of inequality

Bono
The riots overshadowed the fact that it was debt campaigners who had pushed for African leaders to be invited to the summit for the first time, he said.

"Of all the days to destroy, they destroyed one where there was some actual dialogue happening between the G8 and leaders of developing nations."

News of the death of one protestor Friday, 20 July, dominated media coverage.

"I don't think violence is ever right," Bono said.

Russian president Vladimir Putin with Bono (right)
Russian president Vladimir Putin with Bono (right)
"Anger is understandable when facing the obscenity of the ever widening gap of inequality on the planet between the haves and the have nots.

"It's OK banging your fist on the table. It's not okay to put your fist in the face of an opponent, whether they are protesters or police."

But he said groups like Drop the Debt are more dangerous than rioters "because we have people thinking".

Bono and Geldof spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.


I am offended by the tone of these summits

Bob Geldof
Geldof, who organised 1985's Live Aid benefit concert, told the leaders they could not retreat behind heavy security forever because it left them looking cut off.

"I am offended by the tone of these summits - democratically elected leaders with the panoply of power, private jets, swishing through the 'red zone' in motorcades," he said.

The "red zone" was the high-security area, protected by six-metre (20-foot) fences, where the leaders met.

The stars were disappointed that the G8 announced no major new debt relief beyond implementing a package that was decided two years ago, they said.

"We want 100% of debt cancelled for the most wretched and poorest people on the planet," Geldof told reporters.

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See also:

19 Jun 01 | Showbiz
Geldof defends debt campaign
07 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Clinton praises Bono
26 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Bono makes noise in Prague
22 Sep 00 | Entertainment
U2's Bono appeals to US
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