Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The G8 in St. Petersburg has just finished with very little press attention to the summit or the mass protests against it.

slllluuurrrpppMany were worried that the various protests, and counter-conference, that took place in Russia would be repressed rather badly - and it looks like this has turned out to be been substantially true.

Medics taste better details people being tried and convicted in closed courts without representation on the day of their arrest.

Andy T wrote this statement that got handed out in Cambridge on Sunday under the "Eat the rich - making life taste better" flag (I was too delicate to attend because of RAN). Andy mentions how the relatives of activists have been threatened by the Russian authorities

Russian Indymedia
makes it clear how large scale the arrests were during the protests against the G8 and is backed up by reports from Fox News here, and here, The St Petersburg Times here, (which seems quite happy about people being arrested for being on "unsanctioned" protests), Gulf Times (Qatar) here, The Times here

In Mali there was a People's Forum (in French) as a counter weight to the G8 - if anyone reads French reasonably well they might like to summarise what the site says... (there was also a pre-conference counter summit in Moscow which suffered considerable state disruption).

Very good book on last's years protests. protests were certainly smaller than some previous years, although this is hardly surprising given where it is - but the political character was thankfully free of the NGO / neo-liberal politician / rock star alliance that we had to put up with last year.

What's been interesting is how little reporting of the repression there has been when the authorities were actually targetting reporters - although the crisis in the Middle East probably contributed to its low profile.

One last point: The G8 leaders were joined on the last day by the leaders from six 'developing nations' Brazil, India, China, Mexico and South Africa.

Just how 'developing' are these countries? China is the fourth biggest economy in the world, Brazil the ninth, India the twelfth and Mexico has a higher GDP than Russia... I think in some way Brazil et al are meant to be representing the ' world's poor' yet these governments oversee some of the greatest inequality in the world - as a PR exercise its slightly weak - no?


badmatthew said...

'Mass protests': well of course they faced massive repression and deserve support (except for CP?), but doesn't seem to have been 'mass'.

Jim Jay said...

They were certainly smaller - although they were scattered around and its difficult to tell how many people participated in all - Ukraine seems to have had a load for some reason...

There were thousands or tens of thousands of protesters - whatever adjective is applicable for that


Quick request - if anyone has any assessments of how the G8's discussions went (implications, resolutions, etc) I'd be interested to hear as I have to write a briefing on it for Friday... eeek

badmatthew said...

I'm still not happy: The Times article you link to gives a figures of 100 on a march and quotes someone saying 'we were small and isolated'. Do you have any sources saying thousands/tens of thousands (and that means over 20,000)? Are you counting people in St Petersburg or around the world?

Jim Jay said...

The Times article is about one of many demonstrations - I think if you go to the other links that's reasonably clear.

There has been a lack of photos though which is frustrating - so for instance there is loads of coverage of a critial mass style bike ride with probably 100 cyclists... but not exactly cutting edge.

I would also point out that many more than 100 people were arrested on demonstrations too... I'm counting around Russia - there were solidarity demos in Germany and Manchester (and probably elsewhere) but I wasn't thinking about them.

But have you heard of the outcomes of the G8 itself though I've not even started my report...

badmatthew said...

The Socialist Party gives a figure of 800 at the Social Forum and an estimate of 'hundreds' being arrested or otherwise prevented from turning up. I'm still not convinced that it's 'mass protests'.
Outcomes? The 'Yo Blair' exchange and greenlighting for Israel's attack on the Lebanon?
Attempts to give the failing WTO negotiations a bit of a breathingspace or even revival.
Larry Elliott in Wednesday's Guardian gives an overview of the trade policy arguments.

Jim Jay said...

as I said BM "whatever adjective is applicable" I'm not tied to the word mass - it was an off the cuff usage.

Can I ask is that the pre-G8 conference in Moscow or the counter summit in Mali they were refering to?

Elliot link is here - thanks for that - good start...