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Indybay Feature
Mon Jun 7 2004
G8 Meeting Means Repression for Protest Organizers
Mon Jun 7 2004
Group of 8 Met in Georgia, Protests Limited
From June 8-10, 2004 the leaders of the world's largest and richest industrialized nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), who are known collectively as the Group of 8 or G8, met at Sea Island, Georgia in the US. At the meeting, Bush and company were to discuss the war on Iraq, terrorism, the global economy, and the policy in the Middle East. They enjoyed such luxuries as golf courses, fine food and exotic hotels. Although protest organizers began planning their events months in advance, they had to change many of their arrangements because of the repression that came from the government.

Repression: May, 2004: Organizers in Georgia have faced an unprecedented level of repression. Some events that were scheduled for Savannah have been moved to other cities because of intimidation tactics used by the police. Not only is the summit scheduled to be held on a privately-owned island, but protest permits have been denied in several cities, and the Governor of Georgia has declared a state of emergency from May 24th through June 20th in 5 counties. This means that the Governor is allowed greatly expanded powers, such as the right to "seize any property, public or private, close down events whether public or private regardless of permit status, detain citizens without charging them with crimes, impose curfews, override local ordinances and law enforcement, and to use military personnel for civilian law enforcement." Read more from the Save Our Civil Liberties Campaign

Federal Government and G8 Event Security: On May 10-11, 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge met in Washington, DC with the Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs from the G8 countries, and with the European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs to discuss such topics as prevention of terrorism and serious criminal acts; border and transportation security; and combating cybercrime and enhancing cyber-investigations. Just two weeks later, on May 26th, Ashcroft announced that there was an increased threat of a terrorist attack sometime between that date and the election, with an extra chance of an attack on the G8 summit, or on either the Democrat or Republican National Conventions. However, "I don't see these new threats being reported changing anything we have in place," said Barry Bennett, spokesman for the federal Summit Planning Organization. "The security is already a 10, it doesn't go to 11. We're maxed." Plans were already set to have 20,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers help guard President Bush and the leaders of U.S. allies, and keep protesters and their messages away from the G8.

West Coast G8: People in the Bay Area are organizing several events during the days of the G8 summit. On June 8th at 5PM in UN Plaza West Coast G8 and Reclaim the Streets will throw a Mutant Street Party to "To UNwelcome the Biotech Conference to San Francisco (June 3-9), toast the death of the G8, and dance for Mutant Freedom Now!" Read more about the planned protests on the Globalization page. Other G8 Websites: G8 Resistance | Criticism of Counter-Summits | Fix Shit Up call from the Southeast Anarchist Network | How You Can Help the Georgia protesters
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