Thousands join fair trade carnival

 Hundreds of Catholics led a 7,000-strong parade of campaigners who rallied in London on Saturday to call for reform of world trade rules. In crisp autumn sunshine, there was a carnival atmosphere as costumed marchers and decorated floats processed past the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street to Trafalgar Square. Swathed in green, and with a forest of balloons bobbing above them, the campaigners, who had travelled to London from as far away as Northumberland and Devon, were accompanied by African drummers, shrieking whistles and blasting horns. They were among thousands who turned out to show support for the newly formed Trade Justice Movement, a grouping of 19 organisations, which includes CAFOD, Christian Aid, Save the Children, Friends of the Earth and Oxfam. The rally was aimed at sending a strong message to world trade ministers who meet in Doha, Qatar on November 9 for a summit of the World Trade Organisation. It called for fundamental change to the rules and institutions governing world trade, which campaigners say are currently stacked against poor countries and damaging the environment. Together, at the foot of Nelson's Column, the paraders unfurled a huge banner proclaiming: "Make trade work for the whole world", which was passed over the heads of the crowd. A giant photograph of the scene was due to be presented to UK trade secretary Patricia Hewitt when she met representatives of the Trade Justice Movement on Tuesday, 6 November. "What's happening here isn't unrelated to what happened in America on September 11 and the war that's going on now," said Joanna Pallister, 54, from St Joseph's parish, Gilesgate, Durham. "If you don't have injustice, then the terrorists won't have their excuse. There won't be world peace until you get some justice." "We're not against globalisation," said CAFOD Mexican partner Sergio Cobo SJ, addressing the rally. "We're against this kind of globalisation that's hurting the poor and damaging the environment." The Canadian author of the best selling book 'No Logo', Naomi Klein, told the crowd: "We might not be able to meet them head on in Qatar, but we can do something much more powerful. We can surround them in all directions. There's no fence and no fortress that's strong enough to keep us out." "We are a movement whose time has come," said CAFOD head of campaigns Fleur Anderson. "The ministers in Qatar need to be working for equality and global justice rather than lining the pockets of transnational corporations," said Liz Taylor, 46, from St Benedict's parish, Garforth, Leeds. "Trade liberalisation doesn't help the poor." More than 30,000 action cards have already been sent to the UK Department of Trade and Industry by trade justice campaigners demanding fundamental reform of the WTO and its rules. In the final week before the Qatar summit, the DTI said cards were arriving at a rate of 1,000 a day.

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