Yesterday a delegation from the ecumenical Greenbelt Arts Festival, a member of the Trade Justice Movement, handed over 6000 signed postcards to Downing Street asking Prime Minister Tony Blair to lead the World Trade Organisation to bring about international trade justice in Cancun, Mexico this week. This follows the Trade Justice Carnival held as part of the August Bank Holiday festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. The carnival was organised to raise awareness of the campaign which calls for international trade rules to be changed in favour of poor countries giving them the opportunity to trade fairly and develop their economies. Current 'one-size-fits-all' WTO agreements prevent these countries using trade as a means out of poverty. The new proposals to be discussed in Cancun will only further reduce their ability to manage trade in a way that will benefit the poor. Over 12,000 people protested across the site demonstrating their unhappiness at current international trade rules and how they prevent the poor from developing their own lives. They were joined by other campaign supporters including: Billy Bragg, Anita Roddick OBE, Henry Olonga (Zimbabwe), The Polyphonic Spree, Peter Tatchell, Matt Hale (Aqualung), Umoja, Gustavo Parajon (Nicaragua), Paul Stinchcombe MP (Wellingborough), London Community Gospel Choir and many others. Festival Manager Beki Bateson said "We feel this is a very positive campaign and it has obviously captured the imagination of Greenbelters and celebrities alike. At Greenbelt we heard powerful stories from people in Africa, Central America and India and with many of them unable to afford to represent themselves at the WTO meeting we must speak up on their behalf."
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