Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/396/4496
G8 justice ministers' meeting:
Stop taking liberties!
ONE OF David Blunkett's last acts as Home Secretary was to offer Sheffield as host city to a meeting of G8 Interior and 'in'Justice Ministers. On 15-17 June they will be discussing the domestic impact of the 'war on terror'.
Dave Robbie (Sheffield PCS branch secretary) and Edd Mustill (Sheffield ISR)
In practice this meeting is about attacking democratic civil liberties and human rights across the globe. Amnesty International's recent report points the finger squarely at the G8 countries for being the worst culprits globally.
Human rights violations by the US and UK stretch from unlawful killing in Iraq and Afghanistan to systematic torture and abuse in Guantanamo Bay, and to detention without trial in Belmarsh and Woodhill prisons in England.
Attacks on our civil liberties at home go hand in hand with this agenda. Anti-terrorist legislation introduced by Sheffield MP Blunkett (ruled illegal by the High Chief Justice) has been extended by Charles Clarke who has introduced control orders, would like to take away the right to trial by jury for some, and will be attempting to impose ID cards on us all (at £300 each!).
A G8 meeting held in Derby just a few months ago saw the deployment of over 1,000 police officers at a cost of more than £2 million to 'protect' the city from 50 demonstrators. All indications are that similar heavy-handed tactics are going to be deployed in Sheffield, especially as there will be far more than 50 protesters.
Already Netheredge residents in the vicinity of the Marriott Hotel hosting the meeting are being issued with ID cards to enable them to get to their own homes! City centre roads will be closed and theatres have been told to close whilst the 'Big Brothers' are in town.
Whilst police permission has been granted for a "Peace and Justice" demonstration on Saturday 11th, protests whilst the G8 ministers wine and dine have so far been refused.
Protesters are to be penned into a designated area and 'assemblies' of two or more outside the security cordon could be arrested under anti-terrorist legislation.
Sheffield will be turned into a virtual police state for three days, such is the unpopularity of the G8 capitalist leaders. And this could be a dress rehearsal for policing the protest in Gleneagles on 6 July.
They have only been forced to put issues of poverty and global warming on the agenda at Gleneagles due to massive popular pressure.
Campaigns such as Make Poverty History and Bob Geldof's 'Live8', whilst playing a key role in creating awareness, seem to seek the support of the very politicians responsible for many of the problems in developing countries that they are seeking to solve.
In Sheffield many people agree with us that such problems are symptoms of the exploitative capitalist system. The fact that the 'LiveAid' campaign of 20 years ago is effectively being repeated on a larger scale shows the need for radical change.
Socialist Party will carry these arguments into the anti-G8 protests in Sheffield and Edinburgh, where there will be many workers and young people open to a socialist alternative as the failings of the profit system become more obvious.
'Stop the war' demo for
"Peace & Justice"
Saturday 11 June. assemble 10.30am
Devonshire Green, Sheffield.
In The Socialist 9 June 2005: