World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

S26: Jubilee 2000 Protest In Old Town Square

...photo and story from http://prague.indymedia.org/"...

Jubillee 2000 protest called for an end to third world debt, hundreds marched into the old town square, Prague. The New Puppet Masters: Jubillee 2000 Rally Focuses on Children, Debt Relief.

By Matt Olson-Isthmus
molson@isthmus.com

Nearly a thousand protesters rallied today at Jubilee 2000, a rally focused on debt relief and children's issues. Protesters were unmolested by police, who stayed largely out of sight.

If Sam Kobia, Kenyan pastor and human rights activist is to be believed, totalitarianism is still alive and well. "Today we have new totalitarianism to replace the totalitarianism of Stalin," said Kobia, speaking against the backdrop of a giant steel metronome. "It is a financial totalitarianism, a totalitarianism of debt."

Several hundred activists and parents gathered on the steps of Letenske' Sady for Jubilee 2000, a protest of the impact of International Monetary Fund and World Bank debt policy on children in underdeveloped countries. The protest drew activists and religious leaders from at least 15 different European and African countries.

For protesters, the day began with a mock funeral procession for the victims of IMF/WB debt policy, moved to a series of speeches held on a stone pavillion overlooking the Vltava river and old Prague, and culminated in a March down Paritska street and into the old town square, much to the bewilderment of tourists.

The funeral procession set a somber tone for the morning, with marchers slowly ascending a gruelingly steep set of stone steps. The muted tones of a brass band discouraged conversation. Once at the pavillion, marchers were greeted by a large sign reading "Stop the Debt," which was flanked by a pair of massive stick puppets labeled "IMF" and "World Bank."

"We must let these puppet masters know," said speaker Anne Pattiford, "We are not asking for pity and we are not asking for charity. We are demanding justice for the world's poorest people."

While most speakers confined their remarks to children, debt relief and the IMF/WB, the simmering tensions between activists and the Czech government emerged near the end of the rally. "I've just recieved word that a caravan of 1,200 Italian youth activists has just been turned away from the border," said an unidentified speaker, his voice rising. "It is the IMF and the World Bank that should be turned away. They should be arrested, not the protesters." These remarks drew cheers from an already excited crowd.

At this point the rally broke, descending the steps and marching across the river. People broke into groups by nationality, political affiliation, or both. Nearly all marchers carried signs featuring such slogans as "Global Economics=Global Apartheid," "Our World is Not for Sale," "Break the Chains of Debt," and "Debt Keeps Kids out of School." The climax of the march occurred when the first wave of marchers "broke the chain of debt," in this case a serpentine plastic chain constructed of six foot long links and held by a dozen protesters. Once in the old town square, marchers cheered, chanted, sang and conversed.

Police presence was subdued all morning. No riot officers were seen and the only altercation occured when a cop told a protester to remove his signs from the base of a statue, amid much jeering from the crowd.

While todays march was not as large as yesterday's trade union march, it was more diverse. An Scottish activist (who asked that his name be withheld) put it best: "Look at these people. These are the people whose children are affected. They aren't just numbers on a spreadsheet."

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>


UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>



Scarce Goods: Isolating Daraa Al-Balad Threatens 40,000 With Starvation

The siege imposed by the Syrian government forces on Daraa al-Balad since June 24 would lead to serious humanitarian repercussions if it continues, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on July 15, calling for lifting the siege urgently and allowing the entry of basic humanitarian supplies... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs



Shaping The Future Of Food Systems: Thousands Commit To Dialogues Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 130 governments are making food systems a top priority amid the pandemic and committing to an unprecedented programme of Dialogues in the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>


UN: Next 18 Months Seen As Pivotal In Global Efforts To Achieve Key Goals

Next 18 months seen as pivotal in global efforts to reverse punishing pandemic impacts and boost actions to achieve key goals - Even as pandemic erases decades of gains in development, response efforts show signs of renewed global commitment to accelerate SDG progress... More>>