25,000 Stage Vigil for Trade Justice
29 Jun 2005
Celebrities joined campaigners at biggest mass protest of an election campaign when over 25,000 people filled Whitehall at an all-night vigil and protest organised by the Trade Justice Movement to call for trade justice not free trade.
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Celebrities joined campaigners at biggest mass protest of election campaign when over 25,000 people filled Whitehall at an all-night vigil and protest organised by the Trade Justice Movement to call for trade justice not free trade.
The night started with Westminster Abbey full to capacity as Beverley Knight, Ronan Keating, Vanessa Redgrave, Jules Holland and others performed songs and readings. Crowds filled adjacent streets as activists of all ages waited to take part in a candle-lit procession to the gates of Downing Street. Police closed off Whitehall to traffic as activists joined celebrities and public figures for a minute’s silence at midnight, followed by an explosion of noise designed to wake up politicians to the strength the movement for trade justice.
After midnight, venues across Whitehall and Westminster hosted music and comedy, films and debates. All were filled to capacity, with large queues around all venues. Highlights included an impromptu solo acoustic set by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, in Westminster Central Hall. Barbara Crowther, Head of Communications at the Fairtrade Foundation and a Board Director of the Trade Justice Movement said: “It may be night, but we are wide awake. We will not rest whilst so many lives are being destroyed by injustice in trade.”
Glen Tarman, Trade Justice Movement coordinator, thanked all the supporters who came to London for the all-night vigil and protest. “Our movement is gathering force. We have set a clear challenge to the politicians of our country. No more words without action. No more unjust trade in our names.” The vigil continued until 6.30 am, when campaigners made a dawn procession past Downing Street. Then delegations of Trade Justice Movement campaigners lobbied political leaders. Wake Up to Trade Justice was the culmination of a Global Week of Action on trade, which saw millions taking part in events and protests in over 80 countries worldwide, as well as across the UK.
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