Environmental activists, human rights defenders, gender activists and social leaders began on Wednesday a “counter-summit” to protest the Group of Seven (G7) meeting which will be held in Biarritz, in the Basque Country, in France, from August 24 to 26.
Convened by G7Ez Platform and Alternatives G7, the counter-summit was inaugurated in Irun, a town near the border with France, where spokespersons from different social movements taking part in the event, including the French “Yellow Vests”, released a joint statement.
“At this counter-summit, we want to unite all the movements of recent years, which mark the opposition to the policies imposed by the heads of state, which benefit the wealthiest and multinational companies, finance, and whose policies are also discriminatory and authoritarian,” Aurelie Trouve, the Alternatives G7 spokeswoman, said.
Embracing “plurality and diversity” as their principle of action, social organizations from various countries set out to form “a broad militant spectrum in favor of social change.”
“It’s really about the ecologist movement, the ‘Yellow Vests,’ the feminists, anti-repression activists and those in public service. All these movements and many others are present in this counter-G7 summit,” Trouve explained.
“Despite the obstacles we are here. This morning we start the G7EZ counter-summit! to show that another world is possible, that there are alternatives and that we are building them from below and to the left.”
The promoters of this initiative consider “absolutely undemocratic and illegitimate” that G7 leaders decide for “billions of people to keep their privileges intact.” “They are irresponsible,” they add.
“The cynicism of the G7 meeting is that it has made inequality the central theme of the event, but it is these rich countries’ very policies that create and strengthen inequality,” Sebastien Bailleul, an Alternatives G7 activist, said.
“We are witnessing a worldwide crisis, which endangers the viability of the planet and of humanity itself. We are witnessing an increase in social and racial differences, a deterioration in the living conditions of the popular classes and cuts of public and social spending,” the G7 EZ stated.
“These events do not happen by chance, they have predominantly political causes … We want to face this vision of the world and the economy that favors a political and economic elite at the cost of 99% of the population.”
Demonstration in #Hendaye against G7 #G7EZ
The counter-summit also called on citizens to take part in the demonstration that next Saturday will unite the towns of Hendaye (France) and Irun (Spain).
So far French authorities have deployed over 13,200 police, gendarmes and military to guard the rulers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For this purpose, they have closed the highway to Biarritz, which is one of the busiest roads in France, especially during the summer season.
At the 2019 summit, the leaders of the G7 countries are expected to address one of the most controversial issues of the moment: the U.S. trade war against China.
Most likely, however, the discussion will not culminate in the adoption of a joint position because, at the G7 Summit held in 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump disrupted the group’s efforts to reach joint positions on issues such as trade and climate change.
For its part, France, which now holds the G7 presidency, wishes to move forward in the debate on the universal taxation of digital technology giants.
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Featured image: French woman at the streets of Biarritz, the Basque Country, France, August 22, 2019. | Photo: Twittter/ @LaFrancematuer