Thousands gather for anti-G8 protests in Northern Ireland

Thousands rallied in Belfast on Saturday, protesting against the coming G8 summit in Northern Ireland’s county Fermanagh. The action is part of the peaceful anti-G8 demonstrations meant to send a message of protest and concern to the G8-leaders.

What started as 1,500-strong march to the Belfast City Hall in
police estimates, grew into a massive rally in front of the hall
after thousands of people accumulated there.

Trade unionists, environmentalists, socialists and rights
activists were among those taking part in the protest organized
by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and aimed “to
challenge the agenda of the G8 leaders.”

The demonstration was marked by strong security presence, with
hundreds of police flanking the march’s route, dozens armored
vehicles deployed, and several helicopters patrolling the city.

The police have blocked about 100 jeering loyalists, who have
been staging a separate rally, along the protest’s way.

Many Belfast shops chose to board up their fronts, fearing the
protests could turn violent, but the march went on
peacefully. 

“Obama and Cameron, you’re not welcome,” the protesters
chanted, according to the Guardian.

A demonstrator holds a placard depicting Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (C) during a protest against the upcoming G8 summit, to be held near Enniskillen, in Belfast June 15, 2013. (Reuters)

The ICTU chairperson Pamela Dooley branded the world leaders’
policies “damaging” and anti-democratic.

“The eight people meeting in Fermanagh are leaders of some of
the richest and most powerful countries on the planet. They do
not have our consent to form a Gang of 8 or 9 or 20 in order to
force their damaging policies on the rest of us,”
Dooley
said.

“This is not democracy. This is not compliance with human
rights obligations in our own jurisdiction, let alone around the
world. This is hypocrisy and greed which holds the seven billion
human beings on this planet in contempt,”
she added.

Dooley then urged the trade unions and the whole civil society to
“demand a different and better way” and a change from the
“consequences of a corrupt capitalist system bereft of moral
standards.”

Brian Campfield, the ICTU’s vice-president, said the essence of
the G8 summit is “selfishness and dog eat dog,” adding
that the protesters are sending a message that there is an
alternative to “cut throat capitalism.”

A demonstrator holds a placard depicting Britain Prime Minister David Cameron (C) during a protest against the upcoming G8 summit, to be held near Enniskillen, in Belfast June 15, 2013. (Reuters)

Meanwhile, Patrick Corttigan of Amnesty International called on
the Russian government to free the jailed members of Pussy Riot
group.

“Belfast is a punk city and here’s a punk message to you —
free Pussy Riot,”
Corttigan said.

Separate G8-related rallies and events are also due to take place
in Northern Ireland ahead of the June 17-18 summit at Fermanagh’s
Lough Erne resort, while London has already seen protests and
clashes with the police.

At least 8,000 are expected to come to the IF anti food poverty
campaign concert in Belfast on Saturday. The charities-backed
concert aims to send a message to world leaders about ending
world hunger.

The trade unions are also calling “ordinary people refusing to
accept what the G8 wants to impose”
to join a protest rally
in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh on Monday.

Earlier this week, anti-capitalist protesters blaming the banks
and the politicians for the inequality clashed with riot police
in central London. Around 60 arrests were made, RT’s Polly Boiko
reported from the UK’s capital:

Video:
/files/news/1f/6f/60/00/original_571437_boiko.mxf.flv

This article originally appeared on: RT