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16 October 2014


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Make Poverty History March and this weeks Demos

Here's my friend Natalies' report on last Saturdays' and Sundays' demonstrations through Edinburgh in the run up to the G8 conference at Geneagles which starts tomorrow (wednesday), by the way, since when was Geleagles "near by" Edinburgh? It's over an hour away in Perthshire. There was a strong Arran contingent doing their bit. I had to stay home and literally mind the shop. Most people are back now but Natalie is staying on the mainland for the entire week so will keep us up to date. Here's what she sent:
225,000 make a white Make Poverty History band around Edinburgh. Arran contingent in the middle in red
(saturdays demo)

Dear Everyone,
Yesterday's demonstration was really beautiful. There were so-o many people
and the energy was really amazing- peaceful, vibrant, creative, diverse ,
confident, optimistic and full of hope.
In the morning the city was unexpectedly quiet as i walked to the
demo...lots of roads closed so not the usual roar of traffic. lots and lots
of people dressed in white with big smiles on their faces. every road full
of parked coaches with poster of who/where the people had come from. when i
got to the meadows, which was the beginning and end point for the demo there
were already thousands and thousands of people, 2 stages set up with
activists doing their thing adn then stalls of all the various official
supporters: teardrop foundation, action agaist AIDS, vso, friends of the
earth, the green party, oxfam, etc etc...also info tents and first aid and
lost kids tents and of course the usual food and toilet stuff. it was all
set up really well!
I went on the actual march quite early...maybe about 11 am or so. The sun
was shining, the crowds were amazing and by the time i got back to the
start there were still jam-packed crowds waiting to go! so all in all the
human chain was surrounding edinburgh for about 8 hours...which is a lot of
people id say! As always, in such a huge crowd the chances of bumping into
anyone you know are remote...but as always i bumped into loads of people and
had a great time dancing and singing and chanting...some of the chants were
really funny! (but cant remember any of them...)
Back on the Meadows there was a real carnival atmosphere and all was very
peaceful...the highlights for me...Billy Bragg sang the 'Internationale'
song, we set a new world record for the G8-some reel (hilarious...5000 folks
arsing up the dance on teh Meadows!), there were loads and loads of drummers
and drum circles waking up the energies when folks were getting a bit tired
(it was really hot).
There were some beautiful wee moments of people power too...a police
photographer dressed in black riot gear with 2 body guards taking photos of
us all was being shadowed by an activist witness taking photos of the police
taking photos saying 'like you im just doing my job', children being kept
safe in the crowd always and givin room to see and being fed and watered by
the crowd, people from all over the world getting the chance to come
together to demonstrate and celebrate.....fabulous.
in general the police were fine but they did over react to a supposed group
of anarchist and i was suddenly in an area where there were about 200
luminous police persons, about 100 riot gear ones dressed in black with
shields and the poor police horses with their protective eye-visors
on..there were vans that had cage apparatus on them that opened up into the
very bemused crowd to fence them in....
lots of businesses on the route of the march had boarded themselves up which
just seemed odd, considering how peaceful it all was. however, teh media
have been cranking up fear for next week and businesses have reacted
accordingly and a lot of the edinburgh corporate businneses are having
'dress down' days all of next week......!!!!!!!!
last night there were parties going on all over the city. I went to a
'tearfund' benefit gig that had world music going on and my old flatmates
brought the house down with their west african drums/amadinda and dancing
thing called 'wasila' which means family i think.... it was amazing and i
had a great boogie all night!
today there is a 'stop the war' march im about to go on and them we will
see. Im either going to to the protest for nucleur disarmnament at faslane
tomorow or stay in edinburgh for the 'carnival'. And Im still undecided as
to whether im going to stay put in edinburgh for the G8 demostrations or go
up to gleneagles.
all for now...

Sundays demo

Dear Everyone,
This evening there was a much smaller 'Stop the War' demonstration, smaller
than yesterdays massive 'make poverty history' event.
Although it was much smaller in people it was a very moving and powerful
All around me i heard voices from uk, italy, france, poland, germany,
netherlands, greece, india, iraq america...we marched from princess street
up to calton hill, there were loads of media and loads of spectators...
but there was also a really huge police presence....every 10 meters on each
side of the road there were police dressed in luminous jackets and the full
gear. on the buildings were police dressed in black, with mikes and god
knows what, taking photos, running video footage. The whole way up to the
hill...every 10 meters or so. I had a friend with me that had never been to
a demonstration before, it was a real privilege to be her 'guide' like
someone did for me on my first demo.
We got to the top of the hill to 'edinburgh's disgrace' an unfinished
classical building (like the acropolis) where the organisers (stop the war
coalition, cnd etc) had sorted out a sound system and banners. We all waited
until the whole march had arrived, we all were sitting on the grass.
Then the ceremony of naming the dead began.
There were all sorts of a activists taking turns- from trade union groups,
political parties, grass roots organisations, anarchists, environmentalists,
human rights activist, film makers, theatre producers, refugees, mothers,
sisters, brothers of the dead... then people sitting listening were asked to
come forward to read the names of the dead too...
The naming took hours, and of course only a drop in the ocean of all those
lost in combat and civilian life in Iraq that were named: British, Iraqi,
American, French, Italian.... The youngest victim i remember was an 8 month
year old baby girl in Iraq, the oldest a 78 year old grandmother (Iraq).
The demonstration was peaceful and an act of love. The power for social
change and spiritual healing generated in naming the dead was felt, Im sure,
by all.
Right, off to bed- a 3 am rise to get a bus to Faslane...
(send me an e-mail if you dont want to hear anymore about the G8 protests
this week)

Posted on Sunny at 11:43

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