Rallies Against Poverty Precede G8 Meeting Demonstrations urging industrialized countries to do something to fight poverty are held around the world. One sizeable demonstration was held in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the leaders of the largest industrialized nations will meet next week.
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Rallies Against Poverty Precede G8 Meeting

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Rallies Against Poverty Precede G8 Meeting

Rallies Against Poverty Precede G8 Meeting

Rallies Against Poverty Precede G8 Meeting

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4727772/4727773" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Demonstrations urging industrialized countries to do something to fight poverty are held around the world. One sizeable demonstration was held in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the leaders of the largest industrialized nations will meet next week.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Jennifer Ludden.

Today, hundreds of thousands of people in protest marches and at concerts in several cities around the world demanded that the biggest industrialized nations do more to fight poverty. The leaders of those countries called the G8 are holding a summit in Glenegle, Scotland, next week. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joined marchers in Scotland today and filed this report from Edinburgh.

(Soundbite of music)

ANTHONY KUHN reporting:

As Scottish bagpipes fused with African congas, as many as 200,000 protesters marched out of a park called the Meadows and around Edinburgh Castle, forming a human chain. Schoolchildren with white balloons, anarchists in black, churchmen and trade unionists all listen to music on the grass.

(Soundbite of music)

KUHN: Speakers including British actor Peter Postlethwaite urged the G8 leaders to make poverty history.

Mr. PETER POSTLETHWAITE (Actor): Now is the time for the leaders of the G8 conference meeting over there in Glenegle to implement policies that are relevant and make them politically responsible for the abject poverty, for starvation, the environmental devastation and death that is blighting the lives of millions of our brothers and sisters in the developing world every single day.

KUHN: The issues topping the G8 summit agenda, Africa and climate change, were chosen by Prime Minister Tony Blair and some of his ministers joined in the protests. Hilary Benn, minister in charge of foreign aid, commented that the issues were interrelated.

Mr. HILARY BENN (Foreign Aid Minster): These are the two great moral and practical challenges that we face as a world. If we don't tackle the problem of climate change, it's, in fact, the poorest countries of the world who are going to suffer most and will be least able to do something about it.

(Soundbite of cheering)

KUHN: Elsewhere, concertgoers flocked to the Circus Maximus in Rome, the Chateau Versailles in France and eight other venues from Philadelphia to Tokyo for the Live 8 concerts. In London's Hyde Park, Paul McCartney and U2 began with a musical allusion to the Live Aid concerts of 1985.

(Soundbite of music)

Sir PAUL McCARTNEY: (Singing) Well, it was 20 years ago today, Dr. Pepper told the band to play.

KUHN: The concerts' organizers gave out free tickets by mobile phone lottery. They said the idea was to raise political awareness and support, not cash. While participants were clearly having a good time, many were skeptical that their actions would do much to alleviate poverty.

In Edinburgh, participants listened to speakers intense on the Meadow. Kumi Naidoo is chairman of the Global Call to Action against Poverty. He says that whatever happens at the G8, at least campaigners have succeeded in organizing a formidable global anti-poverty movement.

Mr. KUMI NAIDOO (Chairman, Global Call to Action Against Poverty): If there's a failure, it will not be the failure of ordinary citizens and citizen organizations because they've done the thing, they've got the issue on the global agenda. It will be the failure of G8 governments and the lack of vision on their part.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Singer: (Singing in foreign language)

Unidentified Singers: (Singing in foreign language)

KUHN: The music and carnival atmosphere lasted into the evening marred only by the occasional scuffle between activists and police. G8 officials are still in last-minute talks to thrash out details ahead of Glenegle and break what some campaigners say is a deadlock over the summit's goals.

Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Edinburgh, Scotland.

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