Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Saturday, 28 March 2009

'Politics should be about people, not profit'

More than Thousands of people have marched through central London to demand action on poverty, jobs and climate change, ahead of the summit of G20 leaders next week.

The Put People First alliance of 150 charities and unions wants politicians and leaders due to meet in Britain on Thursday to focus on the needs of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people.

The BBC gauged reaction to the protest march as campaigners made their way from London's Embankment to Hyde Park on Saturday.

RICHARD MILLER, DIRECTOR, ACTION AID

Protesters in London. Picture taken by eyewitness Ben LaMothe.
Protesters marching through London demanded action from G20 leaders

"It's good to see thousands of ordinary citizens out on the street demonstrating their right to speak out on how the global crisis is hitting poor people.

"The financial crisis is becoming a development crisis, and there's a danger it could become a humanitarian crisis.

"We want to make sure that world leaders meeting next week think about the impact on the poor."

BRENDAN BARBER, TUC GENERAL SECRETARY

"Never before has such a wide coalition come together with such a clear message for world leaders.

"The old ideas of unregulated free markets do not work, and have brought the world's economy to near-collapse, failed to fight poverty and have done far too little to move to a low-carbon economy."

TONY ROBINSON, ACTOR AND PROTESTER

"The fact is that everybody here has got different life experiences - some people are more concerned about the developing world, others about greening the economy, others about making sure that finance capital is properly regulated.

"But it all leads down to the same thing, and that is that politics should be about people, not about profit."

DR EAMONN BUTLER, DIRECTOR, ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE

"The first thing is not to have more regulation, which is what the G20 seem to be suggesting, but to actually have less so that people can go out there and employ people without huge cost.

"And then secondly, to have sound money so that we know that our money is actually worth something and then I think we can make rational decisions."

ED MILIBAND, ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARY

"It is clear from my discussions with the organisers that we have a shared agenda around jobs, development and climate change.

"The London summit will help us not only to tackle the financial crisis but also take action that prioritises the needs of the poorest and that ensures the global recovery is a green one, creating jobs in the industries of the future."

DEBBIE RIX, UNITE UNION PROTESTER

"The government has the money to bail out the banks but not to save jobs in the country."

ROSIE SHANNON, SAVE THE CHILDREN

"We are really concerned about how the financial crisis is affecting children globally.

PUT PEOPLE FIRST: DEMANDS
Democratic governance of the global economy
Decent jobs and public services for all
An end to global poverty and inequality
Establishment of a green economy

"Food prices are rising across the world and we're starting to see more and more children become hungry.

"Save the Children estimate that 10 million children have gone hungry this year and more will fall into severe hunger, malnutrition, and that can lead to death."

BRYAN SIMPSON, PROTESTER FROM GLASGOW

"This is going to be a summer of rage for the working class.

"Working class people are expected to pay the price for the debts of the banks."

ASHOK SINHA, STOP CLIMATE CHANGE CHAOS COALITION

"The lives and livelihoods of millions of poor and vulnerable people across all countries are at stake.

"The leaders of the G20 owe it to those most at risk yet least responsible for both the economic crisis and the threat of climate chaos to help create a global Green New Deal to tackle both."

DEREK SIMPSON, GENERAL SECRETARY, UNITE UNION

"This is about getting across the message that our members give to us about their concern over jobs and houses and the state of the economy.

"I think it's an important message but whether it will get through to the people meeting in London I don't know.

"Anyone who sees the numbers on this march should realise how important it is."



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