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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 July, 2005, 20:49 GMT 21:49 UK
Poverty marchers call for justice
By Lisa Mitchell
BBC News in Edinburgh

Tell me what democracy is like, came the cry from one man in the midst of thousands. This is what democracy is like, came the reply.

Edinburgh protester with a loudhailer

An estimated 225,000 people came to Edinburgh on Saturday with one aim in mind - to be heard.

Among them was South African grandmother Thandiwe Letsoalo.

Three of her six children have died of Aids, leaving her at 65 with eight grandchildren to care for.

They live on her pension of about $130 (73) a month. She said she came to Edinburgh to speak for all the grandmothers like her.

"I am suffering but what else can I do? Who else will take care of these children?

"I worry all the time. When I go home, I am taking the youngest to be checked because her mother died in December of Aids. She is two."

Revolution flag at Edinburgh poverty march

Mrs Letsoalo, a widow who lives in Soweto, appealed to world leaders at the G8 summit to make Aids drugs free.

Her niece is HIV positive but she does not think she is getting drugs. She has four children.

"When she dies they will come and live with me. They have nobody else."

Mrs Letsoalo also hopes aid to her country will increase and maybe trickle down to her.

But she adds she would like the leaders to "deal with countries that are not corrupt".

'Fight for justice'

Another mother, Tracy Sabatini, from Glasgow, has brought her two children, Stephano, nine, and Louisa, seven, on the Make Poverty History march.

"The children understand people in Africa are dying," she said. "Hopefully, after experiencing an event like this, when they reach adulthood they will know how to fight for justice."

Man wearing Make Poverty History pants for 2 July protest in Edinburgh
Marchers found novel ways to get the anti-poverty message across

Many young people have missed the concert of the decade - Live 8 - to add their voices to the campaign.

There's a cheer when Texas' lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, talking about poverty, tells them: "A bunch of pop stars are not going to change this - it's you guys who are going to change it."

The atmosphere on the march and at The Meadows later is relaxed and friendly, even though some people had to wait two hours in hot sunshine to join the protest.

One huge banner, made by children at Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Sheffield, raised a lot of smiles.

'Enough is enough'

The words "Poverty is Pants" were surrounded by pictures of - pants.

Teacher Ruth Brocklebank said: "Being with all these people makes me feel my voice might actually be heard.

Rebecca Njeri, of the Stand Up For Africa group
Campaigners for Stand Up For Africa want world leaders to listen

"I want to say enough is enough - we want real change in Africa."

Rebecca Njeri's group Stand Up For Africa works for just that, by raising funds and campaigning.

The sixth-former from London said the day had been "lovely".

"We've met people from different places and the support from the people of Edinburgh has been wonderful.

"All we're saying to the world leaders is we all have the same feelings; let's treat people equally."

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