Each of these G7 central bankers sit on the board of directors of The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Switzerland, the central bank of central banks. The meetings of the ‘Basel Club’ are disturbed by nothing. During the Second World War, the BIS quietly carried on its activities, with bankers from both sides meeting under the presidency of Thomas McKittrick, an American who was ‘officially neutral’ in the conflict. Diplomatic immunity, provided at the time courtesy of the Swiss government, no doubt comes in handy from time to time for these gentlemen.
The Financial G7 met for a fancy dinner at Lancaster House on the Friday night and, as expected, the police presence was high with FIT team harrasment continuing from beginning to end. Make Poverty History campaigners were 'allowed' to protest from the confines of a fenced off pen. However, after refusing to join them in the pen, activists were followed and verbally harrased, with the Met using all the usual intimidation tactics. Reportedly, others were stopped and searched with one person recieving an on the spot fine for a minor offence.
However, despite this harrasment (and the short notice of a last minute call-out!), Rythms of Resistance showed up, blocking the exit and along with roughly 20-30 other activists made sure their presence was felt. Noisey support from a pizza delivery driver topped the demo off. As the night drew to a close, the ever thoughtful police officers kindly escorted activists to a local public house, where they continued to look after them by parking a riot van outside!
Despite the short notice (and thanks in no small part to the drummers) the finance ministers and bankers didnt get to enjoy their dinner in peace. Hopefully, the trembling rythms of a samba band did nothing for the rich mens digestion! Yet this was only the first of the G7 Minesterials which mark the countdown to the G8 Summit in July, and as the Summit gets closer our resistance to these meetings must get stronger - lets shut them down!
March 10-11, G8 Employment Ministers Meeting, London
March 15-16, International Energy/Environment Ministers Roundtable, London
March 17-18, G8 Environment and Development Ministers Meeting, Derbyshire.
June 11-11, G7 Finance Ministers Meeting, London
June 16-17, G8 Justice and Interior Ministers Meeting, Sheffield
July 6-8, G8 Summit, Gleneagles, Scotland.