Christian groups in G20 solidarity protest

Christian anti-poverty campaigners plan to set up a tent outside the G20 Summit today as finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union arrive in Melbourne.

The Australian reports that the G20 Christian Collective planned to erect a tent beside the barricades outside the city's Grand Hyatt Hotel at 7.30am this morning, according to a statement by the group.

Group spokesman Reverend Simon Moyle said many of the protesters would eat only rice and water during a planned 60-hour vigil.

"Discussing economic issues in isolation from the poor, and the cost to the environment, is a form of economic tunnel vision that must be held to account," he said in the statement.

"We invite all people to join us - police, other protesters, G20 representatives, Christians and those of other or no faith."

More than 10,000 protesters are expected to attend a public rally outside the G20 on Saturday.

Police have called for protesters to stage a peacefully rally.

Meanwhile, 600 attended a Make Poverty History forum organised by Christian and other solidarity and development agencies, including World Vision and Oxfam Australia. Speakers included Cape Town Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Jesuit Fr Frank Brennan and World Vision's Rev Tim Costello.

The forum which is the Australian leg of the worldwide Make Poverty History campaign concludes tonight with a concert.

Professor Paul James, director of RMIT's Globalism Institute, believes despite cynicism about posturing pop stars, the campaign has "possibilities of being profound".

He sees the potential stemming from the fact that the talk is about solutions - such as debt reduction - on a structural level, rather than just concentrating on individual effort such as child sponsorship or even popular pitches to buy a goat or cow for a Third World family. "It draws people into discussions about what really can be done," he says.

Christian group in G20 tent vigil (The Australian, 17/7/06)
Social change movement becomes its own global brand (The Age, 17/11/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
G20 convergence
Make Poverty History Australia
Creating a fairer world: What should the G20 do?
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Melbourne
Caritas Australia

Caritas supporters show solidarity in making poverty history (CathNews, 7/9/05)
Caritas slams Australia's shameful international aid contribution (CathNews, 31/8/05)
Church joins rally to end poverty (CathNews, 5/7/05)

17 Nov 2006