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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
'Why I'm protesting against G8'
Protester rests at G8 demonstration
Protesters have descended on Evian and nearby Geneva and Annemasse

Chris Blake is one of thousands of activists who have come to demonstrate as world leaders meet in Evian.

The 25-year-old from Southampton wants to replace the G8 with a network of people's forums around the world.

Everyone here has their own reasons for protesting - some talk about the occupations of Iraq and Palestine, while others talk about the debt of African countries, which leaders pledged to cut at the G8 in 2000 but have still not done.

I personally care about all of these issues. But the most important is that the G8 itself is illegitimate.

No-one elected George Bush to be president of the planet.

No-one gave this group of eight men the right to rule the world.

They say the young are not interested in politics, but there are so many young protesters here from Britain
Chris Blake, G8 protester

The policies they push forward - the carve-up of Iraq, global privatisation - are not supported by the majority of people on the planet.

The crowd here is very diverse - far more so than the bankers and politicians we see meeting in a walled fortress in Evian.

Our demonstration had a joyous carnival atmosphere, with sound systems and chanting.

They say the young are not interested in politics, but there are so many young protesters here from Britain.

'Good-natured'

A local came up to me on the bus on Saturday and said how much the people of Geneva were looking forward to having us here - they have hung peace flags from each of the city's principal bridges in support.

I am disappointed the police are in full riot gear as the mood has been overwhelmingly good-natured, with protesters carrying no greater weapon than banners.

I've feared for my safety only once, when I came close to riot police using tear gas and water cannon against protesters on their way back to Geneva after a march to the French border.

There is a rumour that trouble might have been started by fascists, anarchists or police spoiling for a fight.

Protest march at G8 summit
Chris Blake: "The mood has been overwhelmingly good-natured"

I hope riot police misbehaving won't take the shine off this wonderful event - the fact that we have managed to get so many people onto the streets to show their disgust with the G8.

Instead of the G8 I want ordinary people to debate what kind of world they want.

That means factories run by workers and a parliament where delegates are recallable - so if Blair takes us to war against majority opinion we could recall him.

What we need is a network of social forums, where everyone can have their say about what is important to them.

I don't claim to have all the answers - no one in the anti-capitalist movement does - but people need to realise they are powerful.

We are here to say let's not let this obscene capitalist circus dominate the world.





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SEE ALSO:
Clashes mar G8 summit opening
01 Jun 03 |  Europe
France rings G8 town with steel
29 May 03 |  Europe
In pictures: G8 clashes
01 Jun 03 |  Photo Gallery


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