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Saturday, 5 May, 2001, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Socialists march against capitalism
Tony Benn
Veteran MP Tony Benn addressed the rally
More than 900 people have taken part in a May Day Socialist march in Edinburgh to mark the 75th anniversary of the General Strike.

Veteran Labour MP Tony Benn, and Scottish Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan, addressed the protest, celebrating international workers' day with an attack on global capitalism.

Mr Sheridan said capitalism was far more violent than the anarchists who protested in London earlier this week.

He said the system starves 60% of the world's population, causes pollution and prevents the poor from getting adequate medical treatment.

Tommy Sheridan MSP
Tommy Sheridan: Capitalism is more violent than anarchists' protests
Mr Sheridan also criticised the Labour government as "a major disappointment" during his speech to crowds in Princes Street Gardens.

He said: "It has spent less on public expenditure as a proportion of national wealth than the Tories did under Major.

"New Labour has also sold off all the family silver that even the Tories didn't privatise, including Glasgow's schools, Edinburgh's hospitals, air traffic control and London's Underground."

"People complain about the violence of the demonstrators on May Day.

"The Scottish Socialist Party does not support violence, but the real violence in our society comes from the institutional violence of global capitalism.

Obscenely rich

"The violence of a system that starves two-thirds of the world's population, while a small percentage are obscenely rich.

"The violence which afflicts the world with disease, while the global drug companies deny them the medicine they need.

"The violence of the system that pollutes our air and water in the name of profit.

"This is the real violence in the world today. It is the result of global capitalism which Marx predicted 100 years ago."

Bill Speirs, the general secretary of the Scottish TUC, called for united opposition to US president George W Bush's proposed missile defence plans.

He said that the US president's proposals would "start a new arms race, escalate nuclear tension and undermine world peace".

Organisers described the event as a "celebration of the struggle for socialism in a carnival atmosphere".

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See also:

01 May 01 | UK
Mayday protests: Who's who
22 Feb 00 | Labour centenary
Tony Benn: Lessons of history
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