“Family-friendly” is one term we never hear connected to G8 protests but this year the Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council has asked protesters to be safe, not violent. In the past, protests in Canadian cities and around the world have aimed to shut down the meetings, almost at any cost. Not this year, Kyle Buott, president of the labour council, says. “There is no possibility of violence at these protests whatsoever.”
Buott says the group’s goals are to inform the public and to build momentum for the anti-G8 movement. “The leadership of the G8 is responsible for the economic and social policies that have caused the economic crisis that is wrecking the lives of millions of workers around the world,” he says.
Halifax is hosting the Group of Eight (G8) development ministers April 26 to 28 in advance of the June G20 conference in Toronto. However, several local groups say the decisions made at these meetings reinforce the global divide between rich and poor countries. The labour council is mobilizing a “G8 Welcoming Committee” to peacefully object the meetings.
During a Peasants Day event on the Common last week, held in solidarity with the anti-G8 resistance, organizer Aaron Beale encouraged attendees to say “no” to corporate control of food by planting gardens and buying local. Protesters hula-hooped under cloudy skies and munched on free vegetables, pita bread and apple crisp.
Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Brian Palmeter doesn’t expect this weekend’s rallies to be violent. “We’ll be prepared to deal with anything should we be required to, but we hope that people will, if they feel the need to protest, that they’ll come down and do it lawfully,” Palmeter says.
Though this year’s G8 meeting focuses on maternal and child health, the Feminist League for Agitation Propaganda plans to protest the lack of abortion and contraception on the agenda. “We’re critical of the G8’s existence and we’re upset that the agenda of maternal and child health is so narrow,” says member Emily Davidson.
FLAP and others plan to make their voices heard April 25 in Victoria Park at 1:30pm and April 26 in Cornwallis Park at 7am.