Geldof condemns protest 'idiots'05/07/2005 - 12:03:11
Live 8 boss Bob Geldof today condemned violent protesters as “idiots” as he set off on a train to Scotland on his anti-poverty crusade, but he dismissed last night’s clashes in Edinburgh ahead of the G8 summit as a “side issue” compared with the “extreme violence” of third world suffering.
Geldof said it was “unacceptable” for politicians such as Chancellor Gordon Brown to warn that campaigners may be disappointed by the outcome of the meeting of the world’s richest nations.
The former rock star was joined by Hollywood acting couple Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon as he boarded a special Virgin train to Edinburgh from London’s Euston station with campaigners from Make Poverty History.
Asked about last night’s violence he said: “I think the police handled it very well and I think there were scuffles which is just people rubbing against each other in the wrong way.”
Dismissing the aims of some of those involved he said: “We are there for something as opposed to being there for nothing at all.
“We are there to see a different G8, to see something actually achieved for people who can’t even countenance violence unless it is visited upon them.
“We are there in peace. We are really, really, really not interested in that stuff at all.”
He described those involved as “people in silly faces” and said what had happened was not “that extreme”.
He added: “It was just stupid and unnecessary and to be condemned. That won't affect the decisions of eight men (at the summit).
“We should look at what happens in Africa and what happens to the poor, the extreme violence visited upon them by poverty.”
He said attention should not be paid to the “idiots” involved in violent protest although he thought the focus on them had deflected from his campaign.
He urged people “not to get carried away by a couple of political hoolies”.
Responding to Mr Brown’s warning that the outcome of G8 may disappoint campaigners, Geldof said; “I’m not prepared to be disappointed. I don’t think that is an option.
“I don’t think the Chancellor should try lowering the bar at this stage. We have come for victory.
“It has to happen now. Not to do it now would be grotesquely irresponsible.
“It is unacceptable for politicians to say ’prepare to be disappointed’.”
Geldof said he believed the summit would be different this time, settled not by “anonymous civil servants” but by world leaders going “eye-ball to eyeball”.
He added: “It really is a face-off between those who want to see a fundamental change and those who don’t.”
Asked if artists whose album sales had been boosted by appearing at Saturday’s Live 8 event should give their extra earnings to charity, he said: “That’s up to them.”
Geldof is heading to Scotland as part of the Long Walk to Justice campaign which will culminate with a 60,000-strong concert at Murrayfield.
He was travelling with representatives from anti-poverty campaigns in France, Georgia, Ghana, Mali, Sierra Leone and the UK.
Richard Branson, who is laying on the train for free, said: “We felt it was important that they get to lend their voices in Edinburgh.”
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