The Stamp out Poverty team headed over to Nice for the Alternative G20 Summit and we had an incredibly eventful three days – activism, campaigning, protesting, workshop-ing…we did it all. Here’s our breakdown of the Alternative G20 in terms of tax justice related issues.
The crowd present at the Alternative Summit was international and diverse – formed from activists and campaigners from around the world, mainly protesting about the links between the debt in the global south and the adverse effects that this is having on people everywhere from London to sub-Saharan Africa.
The first day of action was in the form of a protest which featured over 300 Robin Hood’s marching in Nice ahead of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting. A Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax on banks which would generate around £20 billion (in the UK alone) which would be used to protect public services at home and ensure that the UK sticks to its international aid commitments – I’m sure that most of you know this though.
The highlight of the protest was definitely the semi-naked flash mob, which featured the French (but not the more prudish English) activists stripping off to reveal ‘0.05%’ written on their stomachs. Innovative. This action received wide-spread press attention, including front-page articles in several of the local newspapers.
The entire march (featuring around 10,000 protesters in total) was provided a beat by several incredible dummers who kept up the energy of the crowd throughout.
The purpose of this protest was to really pile the pressure on the G20 leaders, support President Sarkozy and strongly urge David Cameron not to block the tax at the summit. The slogan ‘we are the 99%’ has become commonplace in recent months and the protest reflected this sentiment – world leaders such as Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel have taken notice of this by providing staunch support for financial transaction taxes. More than half of Conservative Party donations now come from the City – we should continue to lobby the UK government who seem to be taking the side of their friends in the City over the public.
The police presence was more than considerable but as it turned out, completely unnecessary; this was one of the most peaceful, well organised and enjoyable protests that we’ve ever been too.