Close to 300 protesters marched through downtown Halifax yesterday, peacefully demonstrating against this week’s meeting of G8 development ministers.
The G8 Welcoming Committee, organized by a coalition of social, environmental and student groups, demonstrated outside the Westin Hotel, where ministers from some of the most prosperous nations in the world will stay while discussing maternal health and development over the next three days.
“We are here both to provide a critique of their agenda as far as development is concerned, but also the institution that is the G8 and their social and economic policy,” said Kyle Buott of the Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council. “Their policies around bank deregulation, unfair trade, around privatization, and around outsourcing are wrecking the lives of millions of workers and people across the world.”
The peaceful protest was punctuated by a few tense moments. Halifax Regional Police — some on horseback or motorcycles — kept a heavy presence and a close eye on the protesters as they made their way from Victoria Park to Cornwallis Park.
One officer, trying to move protesters off the street and into Cornwallis Park, was drowned out by a small group of black-clad, balaclava wearing demonstrators. Officers on horseback were brought in to move the crowd back, but the two horses became spooked and spun around in agitation.
The protesters eventually dispersed from the street, gathering around a covered statue of Cornwallis for more presentations.
Bloutt says a group will gather at the Westin early this morning to continue the protest.
The G8 ministers’ meeting at Pier 21 in Halifax starts tonight and wraps up early Wednesday. The meeting will include representatives from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Russia. A representative from at least one developing country as well as officials from some United Nations organizations will also attend.
– The Canadian Press