Statement of Via Campesina

Mobilisations in Rostock : G8 behind fences, alternatives blossom

12 June 2007 by La Via Campesina


In the aftermath of the Heiligendamm summit, it appears
clearly that the G8 G8 Group composed of the most powerful countries of the planet: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA, with Russia a full member since June 2002. Their heads of state meet annually, usually in June or July. has lost all credibility and legitimacy.
As it now happens for most high level world meetings, the G8
summit that took place in Heiligendamm, Germany, from June
6 to 8 had to hide behind barbed fences and in a civil war
atmosphere to protect the richest nation’s heads of state
from people’s protests. This does not only emphasize the
illegitimacy of the G8 leaders who decide the fate of the
rest of the world. It also shows the growing and massive
opposition towards their neo-colonial and neo-liberal
policies within their own populations and beyond.

During the last summit, the G8 has been isolated, deaf and
blind to a plural and diverse protest held by particularly
young and revived European movements. The eight heads of
state were unable to reach any binding agreement on climate
change and Africa. What will be remembered from the official
summit in Heilingendamm are empty promises and pure
communication exercises.

The extremely high level of repression and criminalisation
against the social movements and the youth that had gathered
around Rostock only underlines the dead-lock of the G8 order. While in the camps, during the demonstrations and the blockades the vast majority of activists gathered peacefully and showed a high level of responsibility, the German police acted with unjustified violence and provocation. Hundreds of people were arrested for no other reason than having tape or string in their bags.

Despite this high level of repression, the mobilisations in
Rostock were a great success. Both in the alternative summit
and in the blockades, diverse movements met, discussed and
acted together to oppose the G8 destructive policies and give
life to alternatives. The three camps in Rostock, Reddelich
and Wichmannsdorf were living examples of solidarity and
sustainable, joyful and self-organized communities where
more than 20.000 people lived together during about a week.

For Via Campesina, it has been a unique opportunity to put
food and agriculture in the heart of the struggle in Europe
and to interact with other social movements. Young farmers
from around Europe and beyond found in Rostock a space to
discuss ways to develop small scale farming in their
respective communities and countries and to voice their
opposition to the domination of agriculture by transnational
companies.

Via Campesina strongly condemns the police repression of
largely peaceful protests and asks for the immediate release
of all the activists still detained following the anti-G8
mobilisations. We also regret that many of the mainstream
media focused on violence and security issues while the
protests actually showed the very lively, diverse and
creative social forces acting today in Europe to struggle
against racism, fascism, sexism, capitalism and environmental
destruction. While the G8 leaders were meeting behind
fences, the protesters clearly demonstrated that alternatives
can blossom.

Brussels, June 11 2007

More information and pictures on www.viacampesina.org



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