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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 June, 2005, 06:07 GMT 07:07 UK
Chancellor aims to join G8 rally
Gordon Brown
Mr Brown revealed his intentions during a radio interview
Chancellor Gordon Brown has revealed he plans to participate in the Make Poverty History demonstration in Edinburgh during the G8 summit.

Mr Brown - the first Cabinet member to say he is likely to attend the rally - said he had been invited to take part.

The chancellor has told radio station Clyde 1 that "people have a right to peaceful protest".

But a spokesman for protest network G8 Alternatives said it would be "rank hypocrisy" for Mr Brown to attend.

This is a day for the people not for politicians - it is the people's voice that must be heard
Gordon Brown
Chancellor

Up to a million people are expected to take to Edinburgh's streets when leaders from the Group of Eight nations, representing the world's leading economies plus Russia, meet at nearby Gleneagles from 6 to 8 July.

When he was asked about the demonstration, Mr Brown said: "I have been invited to speak at one event and I hope that I will be able to do so."

But he added: "This is a day for the people not for politicians. It is the people's voice that must be heard."

Despite police concerns about the size of the planned protest, the chancellor has previously stated his support for the event.

"We are going to support people who want to make their views known," he said.

"People have a right to peaceful protest and that is something people should be able to do."

Mr Brown's revelation came after he urged world leaders to follow up their decision on debt cancellation for the poorest countries with a doubling of aid and fairer trade rules.

Influence on leaders

Addressing a conference at Inverkeithing High School in Fife, which was organised to debate issues ahead of the G8 summit next month, the chancellor told of the human suffering he had witnessed in Africa.

He said the world was "angry" and "outraged" at continuing poverty in Africa, despite past pledges from richer nations, and told pupils that various events could influence leaders who attended the summit.

Last weekend G8 finance ministers agreed to write off billions in debt owed by some of the world's poorest countries.

But the chancellor has called for more action to be taken, stressing that current funding amounted to an average of $20 per person in Africa per year - down from more than $30 20 years ago.

'Hypocrisy'

Aamar Anwar, a human rights lawyer and G8 Alternatives spokesman, said the chancellor was not welcome at the rally.

"Mr Brown, along with Tony Blair and George Bush, are the people who are responsible for poverty and starvation around the world," he said.

"It would be rank hypocrisy for him to attend the demonstration."

"The G8 is proposing spending 30bn on the alleviation of poverty," he added.

"It sounds like a lot but it is absolute peanuts when it is compared to the 280bn that was made available for the war in Iraq."


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