A sea of people from all corners of the UK flocked into Edinburgh on Saturday to call for an end for poverty and trade injustice. And a host of motivating speakers and musicians on stages in the Meadow, welcomed the crowds as they arrived. Neville Gabriel from the CAFOD-supported South African Bishops' Conference, received deafening cheers as he said it was time to stop the "global economic apartheid" caused by unfair trade rules. "Trade injustice in our world today has a very human face," he said. "On the one side there are the faces of Tony Blair, Patricia Hewitt, Peter Mandelson and others. On the other side there is the face of a 40-year-old textile worker in Cape Town who today is out of work and without any means of supporting her children." Neville explained how she and a sugar cane worker were now unemployed because their products were priced out of the market by subsidised products from the US and EU. "Half of Africa's population lives in extreme poverty. Leaders say debt relief will get us out of poverty.but they offer this with one hand and with the other hand take it away with unfair trade rules. It's the height of hypocrisy, it's a scandal and it's plain wrong. Trade rules work to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. I am here to join hands with you to say plainly and clearly that this sort of global economic apartheid must stop and it must stop now." Television stars Kwame Kwei-Armah and Tony Robinson also took the microphone to pledge their support of the Trade Justice Movement. Kwame said: "A lot of what the government and the WTO are saying is not helping to developing world to be self determining. Lots of fishers and farmers are losing their livelihoods because they cannot compete. People want to trade themselves out of povertywe need to push [the government] to know that free trade is not necessarily fair trade." Tony Robinson of TV's "Time Team" applauded the campaigners for coming "straight to where the action is so that everybody knows just how important Trade Justice is". The former Blackadder star read a letter of support from U2 singer Bono, which said that despite the complexities of international trade policy, a "melody line (was) coming through. People are starting to pay attention to the fact that the way we have set up trade is unfair," he said. Caroline Lucas, MEP for the Green Party said it was time for the government to recognise that trade policies were devastating the economies and livelihoods of millions of people. "It is time to put people before profit and make trade fair," she said. Caroline Lucas, MEP, said: "We are here to say it's time to replace the WTO programmes of ever greater markets with a new system of trade. To give governments back control of their countries' trade policies and for people in poor countries to decide what they want to trade and when. "Above all we demand an end to the arrogance of leaders who claim to know what's good for the people of other countries. "Instead of waging illegal wars on Iraq, a much greater contribution to world peace and security would be to reduce inequality by standing up now to put an end to world poverty." Echoing her sentiments, CAFOD campaigner Liz Taylor from Leeds said: "Everyone is worried about world peace and that will only be achieved when there's justice and trade justice is vital to that." One huge banner, made by children at Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Sheffield, raised a lot of smiles. The words "Poverty is Pants" were surrounded by pictures of - pants. Teacher Ruth Brocklebank said: "Being with all these people makes me feel my voice might actually be heard." A group of teenagers from Guildford, Surrey said they believed fair trade was important for all of their futures. Shannon Magara, aged 15, originally from imbabwe, who attends St Peter's School said: "Unfair trade is something that is going to affect our generation we might as well stop it now. "We want to help make our generation realise what's going on in the world and instead of starting wars, building peace. The reason why there are terrorists is because of injustice." Michelle Hosking, aged 16, who grew up in South Africa added: "Instead of always thinking about ourselves, it's good to do something for someone else." Daniel Packwood, aged 14 who had come to the rally with his older sister Abby, said: "I think it's important that everyone gets a chance and that there are equal rights for everyone." Early risers Arron Hirst, aged 14 and his uncle Ged Flynn had woken up at 3.30am this morning to get from their home in Liverpool to the rally. He said: "I came here because I wanted to make a difference."
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