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Biggest mass protest of election campaign

category international | miscellaneous | press release author Friday April 15, 2005 02:48author by Jon Glackin - MakePovertyHistory NIauthor email jonglackin at makepovertyhistory-ni dot orgauthor phone 0774 327 5533 Report this post to the editors

MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY

World poverty and environmental groups descend on Whitehall Friday 15th April to
show strength of public concern on the UK's role in global trade.

TRADE JUSTICE MOVEMENT


Biggest mass protest of election campaign says parties must go further on
anti-poverty pledges

World poverty and environmental groups descend on Whitehall Friday 15th April to
show strength of public concern on the UK's role in global trade.

Public concern on international trade will be demonstrated as thousands mobilise
for a mass rally on trade justice this weekend.

People are traveling from across the country to be in Westminster and Whitehall
on Friday evening for 'Wake Up to Trade Justice' - a night-long vigil and
protest to ensure that all political parties know the strength of the public
demand for trade justice not free trade.

The vigil, organised by the Trade Justice Movement as part of a Global Week of
Action for Trade Justice, will start with a special celebrity-supported event
at Westminster Abbey.

Participants, led by representatives of Trade Justice Movement organisations -
which represent nine million UK voters - will then form a 'Human White
Band', the symbol of Make Poverty History, around Parliament Square to highlight
the policy changes on trade the campaign is demanding the parties
adopt.

The activists, public and celebrities will then proceed along Whitehall for a
candle-lit vigil, including a mass 1-minute's silence at midnight to mark the
millions of lives being destroyed worldwide by unfair trade laws. A night of
film, music, debate and education at venues around Whitehall follows.

The event is set to culminate in a dawn procession before Trade Justice campaign
delegations meet representatives from the three main political parties.

Glen Tarman, Trade Justice Movement coordinator, said:

"The British electorate is rightly concerned about the economy, health and
education - but not just in the UK. The free trade policies the rich
countries are pushing on the developing world are robbing people of health and
education services and promoting economic insecurity for communities on a
global scale."

"This is a wake-up call for political leaders of all the main parties - if
elected, they must make sure urgent action is taken if we are to have justice
in international trade and start to make poverty history in 2005. We are making
world poverty a doorstep issue."

"All the parties claim to be concerned about apathy towards politics
especially among the young. Yet thousands of potential voters are coming to
Whitehall to demand the parties address their concern that Britain's trade
policies do not hurt the world's poor and the planet. The parties would do
well to listen."

The Trade Justice Movement has called on all UK political parties to make public
statements setting out their position on stopping the push for poor countries to
open up their economies at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and through other
forms of international pressure.

Around the world millions of people in more than 80 countries are taking to the
streets in the Global Week of Action running from 10-16 April - calling for
trade justice to help lift people out of poverty.



For further information:
Sarah Finch 07870 823485
Trade Justice Movement 020 7523 2417 (until 6pm 15th April then only mobile
number above)

Jon Glackin 0774 3275533
Press Officer MakePovertyHistoryNI

Notes for Editors/Readers:

1. Wake Up to Trade Justice on 15/16th April is a celebrity supported all-night
carnival of music, art and protest. See www.tjm.org.uk.

2. The Trade Justice Movement is a coalition of 67 organisations including aid
agencies, environment and human rights campaigns, fairtrade organisations,
trade unions, and faith and consumer groups.

3. Trade Justice is one of the key calls of MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY, the UK's
largest ever anti-poverty mobilisation already supported by 400 UK
organisations.

4. The Global Week of Action is the biggest mobilisation yet on trade, with
events in every continent, including all of the G8 countries. Thousands of
events, in both rich and poor countries, include demonstrations, petitions to
governments and institutions such as the IMF and World Bank, voting for trade
justice, street theatre and marches. Over a hundred events have already taken
place across the UK. For more information see www.april2005.org/media.

5. Opinion polls show international poverty ranks high (eighth) among the most
important election issues, above Europe, transport, Iraq and interest rates
(Economist, 9th-15th April: Sources MORI, ICM, Populus, YouGov). For the first
time in a UK election the leaders of all three main parties have pledged to
make keynote speeches about world poverty on the same day (24 April).

6. The Trade Justice Movement is calling on the UK Government (whichever party
takes power) to ensure that developing countries can choose the best solutions
to end poverty and protect the environment. The coalition has written to the
leaders of the major parties demanding they adopt policies to stop forcing
trade liberalisation on developing countries in areas including industrial
tariffs, trade in services and agriculture. The letter can be read at:
www.tjm.org.uk/wakeup/letter.shtml.

Related Link: http://www.tjm.org.uk
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