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article imageDay 1 of London G20 Protests More Gandhi Than Rambo

By Lisa Devaney     Mar 28, 2009 in Politics
Thousands march through London in lead up to next week's G20 summit in peaceful demonstrations today for the Put People First protest
Today began the first day of what protesters say will be a week of G20 summit demonstrations in London, with an estimated 35,000 people taking to the streets to rally for a variety of causes and issues organized as the Put People First rally.
With police putting out early warnings that the protests may result in violence, today was without incident. About 150 groups rallied to bring attention to issues of the financial crisis, climate change, poverty and stopping the war in the middle east, among other platforms, with the slogan "jobs, justice and climate." Organizers included the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Friends of the Earth, Action Aid, Save the Children and more.
Authorities have focused attention on groups of anarchists who are planning demonstrations, saying these movements are being watched carefully. The group G20meltdown showed up elsewhere in London today with a showing of their theatrically themed Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse display, with about 100 of its members covering their faces with black masks. The group proved peaceful and displayed a festive carnival spirit for what turned out to be a Gandhi-style march, without the combative Rambo-like influences police are cautionary toward.
The protesters marched to Hyde Park, where speakers addressed the crowd in an organized rally, complete with large screen multimedia display. The line-up, hosted by actor and TV presenter Tony Robinson included:
-Bianca Jagger (Chair of the World Future Council and President, of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation)
-Father Joe Komakoma (General Secretary of the Zambian Episcopal Conference)
-Susan George (academic and author)
-Mark Thomas (activist comedian)
-Tony Juniper (environmentalist)
...and others
Susan George led the crowd in chants of The banks are ours!
The protest was a popular Twitter subject today, and included a superhero character called “The Megamouth”, who shouted requested slogans that members of the crowd sent to him via Twitter.
Weather did not prohibit the event, which was a mix of sun, chilly showers, and at one point hail.
More events are planned for Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2, with the G20meltdown group naming April 1st as Financial Fools Day.
Follow my reports from this week's events on Twitter.
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