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Ahead of G8 Meetings Protesters Gather en Masse in Belfast
Global leaders of the G8 are set to begin their two-day meetings on Monday in Belfast, but protesters are already demonstrating in force against the "corrupt capitalist system" made worse by neoliberal policies enforced by the world leaders involved in the summit.
Thousands took the streets of Belfast Saturday in what turned out to be a peaceful march with no arrests, despite a large police presence.
The rally was organized by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
"We know that we are facing the consequences of a corrupt capitalist system bereft of moral standards," ICTU chairperson Pamela Dooley Dooley told a large rally.
Dooley told the crowd: "It is a system which puts profit before people and always will. It is a system for the few and not for the many."
James Orr of Friends of the Earth told the crowd it is "time to put the long term future of the planet first - and develop a clean energy future we can all afford".
He added: "G8 nations should be taking the lead in tackling climate change, instead of driving forward policies that keep their economies hooked on dirty, damaging and increasingly costly fossil fuels."
"People across the UK, including Northern Ireland, are rightly concerned about the threat fracking poses to their communities, local environment and the global climate."
"Corporations are running the world, not the people," said Tom Wright, 55, a Belfast protester carrying a meter-tall model of an oil derrick painted with the slogan "No Fracking Way!" The G8, he said, represented "pure and total evil."
Further protests are expected in the coming days.