Friday, October 22, 2021

From Pikachus to blimps, protesters gather at G7 demanding climate change action

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From blimps of U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to activists dressed in Pikachu costumes, hundreds of protesters have targeted the G7 summit in southwest England to demand action on the climate, poverty and COVID-19.

As leaders of some of the world’s richest nations gather in picturesque Cornwall, so have dozens of campaign groups that want to court publicity for their causes and send a message to the Western political elite.

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Trudeau still silent about COVID-19 vaccine sharing details as G7 summit kicks off

Leaders from the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany, France and Canada are joining Johnson on Friday for the three-day summit in the seaside resort of Carbis Bay.

Their meeting has also provided an opportunity for campaign groups to highlight the issues they say the G7 must address.

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“We want the real Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and other G7 leaders gathering in Cornwall to be like these blimps and join the wave of hope,” said Jamie Drummond from the Crack the Crises group which organized the blimp protest.

“That means they should stop hoarding and start sharing – sharing the money, doses and the tech to vaccinate the world; and deliver an historic green recovery deal.”

Activists wearing giant heads of the G7 leaders tussle over a COVID-19 vaccine syringe during an action by charity Oxfam to highlight intellectual property for vaccines on Swanpool beach in Falmouth, Cornwall on the sidelines of the G7 summit on June 11, 2021.

Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Police have mounted a major security operation for the summit, with thousands of officers drafted in from across Britain. Some of those planning demonstrations have said they intended their protests to be noisy, disruptive and annoying.

On Friday officers said they had arrested seven people after stopping two cars in which they found paint, smoke grenades and megaphones.

“We continue to support the facilitation of safe and legal protest, but criminal activity and public disorder will not be tolerated,” the police said in a statement.

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Protesters dressed as Pikachu characters demonstrate outside the G7 Summit media centre, calling on the Japanese government to stop burning coal by 2030, on June 11, 2021 in Falmouth,.

Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images

However, those organizing some of the protests accuse the authorities of oppressive tactics.

“When talking about how local people feel about protesters, it’s really important to remember that lots of protesters are local,” Resist G7, an ad-hoc collection of about 20 activist organizations, said on Twitter.

“It’s the G7 that’s disrupted us not the other way round.”

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