Thousands of anti-capitalists have arrived in Nice on the French Riviera to protest against corporate greed ahead of the G20 summit in Cannes. International activists are urging leaders of the world's top economies to focus on people not finance.
The protest in Nice, which unites the Occupy Wall Street movement in the USA and anti-EU rallies in Europe, is estimated to have attracted almost 15,000 people. People are coming from all over Europe – but also from Mexico, Canada and even the Middle East.
"People first, not finance!" shout protesters, many wearing Robin Hood hats to represent their demand for the introduction of a financial transactions tax to help fight inequality.
“I am against the fact that the few people who have the most money in the world are running everything,” one of the protesters told RT.
“Governments of the states have decided they own the world. We believe the people have their world,” added another one.
Though the rally is more about the struggling single currency and spiraling debt in the EU, other issues are also being brought up. Thus, the demonstrators criticize the military operation in Libya, which is viewed as a waste of money which could have been spent on more urgent domestic issues.
Leading trade unions and environmental advocates such as Greenpeace and the Human Rights League are also at the rally.
Security has been tightened with helicopters circling over Nice and heavily armed police guarding every corner. Fears are high the protests may turn violent – as has happened before.
Three anti-G20 protesters from Spain have been detained by French police near Nice Airport ahead of the march, reports RIA Novosti news agency. The police found "bolts, mountaineering axes, balaclavas and gas masks" in their car, as well as T-shirts and badges reading “Black Cross”, which is the anarchists’ symbol. The men were suspected of planning to cause trouble and put in custody.
The G20 summit will take place on Thursday and Friday in Cannes near Nice, where anti-capitalist demonstrators are marching against the event. The summit is being held to look into the issues of financial stability and the security of energy supplies.
A parallel “People's Summit” will be held by protesters in Nice.