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G8 Summit Kicks Off; Unprecedented Police and Military Build-Up Stymies Democratic Dissent in Coastal Georgia and San Francisco

sf As leaders of world's richest nations gather in opulent Sea Island, Ga., nearby Brunswick is under military occupation. The Governor has declared a state of emergency; thousands of police, federal law enforcement and national guard have swarmed the region, outnumbering activists by a factor of ten. Ongoing surveillance and harassment of anyone suspected to be a protester, a community organizer, or even a sympathetic resident has exacted a heavy toll. Despite these pressures, about 200 turned out for a United for Peace and Justice anti-war march yesterday morning; several hundred visitors attended the Fair World Fair and the "Other" Economic Summit; another 70 or so travelled to St. Simons (accompanied by armored vehicles) Island for a vigil. A march in Savannah--60 miles away from the Sea Island resort--had more military and police than it did protesters.

sf Meanwhile, on the Pacific Coast, activists have organized a counter-convergence called Reclaim the Commons in solidarity with the Georgia G8 protests as well as against the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) convention. Yesterday morning, several hundred activists poured into San Francisco's streets to protest the BIO meeting. They were greeted by a large and heavily armed police presence and 32 arrests were made. Later in the day, at a Reclaim the Streets G8 solidarity march, 200 protesters were surrounded by 300 cops; within a few hours, the police arrested at least 131 peaceful protestors.

More protests are planned in Brunswick, Savannah, and San Francisco for the remaining two days of the Summit and the BIO convention.

[ Atlanta IMC | No G8 | Bay Area IMC | Biotech IMC | Reclaim the Commons ]
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