2006 G20 ministerial meeting
The 2006 G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held in Melbourne, Australia between November 18 and November 19, 2006. Issues discussed included "the outlook for the global economy; developments in resource markets and ways to improve their efficiency; the impact of demographic change on global financial markets; and further reform of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank."
The Grand Hyatt Melbourne Hotel was the venue for most of the events and was also the location where most of the dignitaries stayed. this year countries like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, America and the European Union
Concern had been sparked that Victoria Police may be overstretched due to the large amount of events in Melbourne that weekend, on top of the G20 summit there was a U2 concert at the Telstra Dome and a 'Make Poverty History' concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Victoria Police also warned that protesters may attempt to occupy inner-city buildings, and they recommended "corporations (should) consider hiring extra security."
In a first for the G20 meeting, an elite business group was able to address the Finance Ministers and Reserve Bank leaders. A new organisation, the Energy and Minerals Business Council comprising BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and many of the world's most powerful mining and oil companies met in the same hotel and could lobby G20 delegates over a business lunch.
The meeting of finance ministers in their communique called for free markets in oil and other forms of energy, and warned that economic policy needed to be tightened to reign in big deficits and 'easy money'. "We need to take advantage of the present strength in the global economy to get policy settings right," they declared in their statement.
Climate change was not on the formal agenda, but a strong push by chief secretary to the British Treasury, Stephen Timms forced global warming and the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change to be briefly discussed as part of the context of promoting free markets as the way to energy security. The G20 communique said "We discussed the links between energy and climate change policy, including the role of market-based mechanisms, and agreed that the G-20 would monitor this issue."
On Friday the 17th there were several invasions in buildings by small bands of protesters in Melbourne, such as Orica where over 100 protesters occupied the chemical services department, delivering a letter to the General Manager for mining chemicals, and faxing it to communities along a cyanide transport route. All ANZ branches in the Melbourne CBD were closed during the afternoon of November 17 due to protest action against ANZ investment in military industries.
Behaviour of protestors
The main anti-globalisation protest was organised by the StopG20 coalition for Saturday November 18. This march stopped at the police barricades in Russell Street where a festive carnival atmosphere prevailed. Some protesters moved to other streets, where confrontations with the police occurred, while most protesters who went to the main rally and march went home never being aware of the confrontations on other streets until they watched the news that evening.
On Collins and Russell Streets, barricades were ripped down and pushed at riot police who were called in to help quell the situation. A militant group of protesters known as the Arterial Bloc, dressed in white clothing with hoods covering their faces, collected industrial bins and dumpsters and used Melbourne's tram tracks to slide them into barricades and police, resulting in minor injuries to several police, the most serious being a broken wrist. At one stage a police riot truck was attacked with its windows smashed. By 15:00 local time, the nearby Grand Hyatt had gone into 'lock down'. The organizers of the protesters had expected up to 10,000 people to come, however the number of people that showed was slightly over 3,000.
Behaviour of police
A preliminary report by an independent human rights observer team noted "high level overall of police discipline and restraint in the face of deliberately provocative actions by some protesters, lasting many hours" and "Police command were seen to be encouraging the consideration of force as a staged option, rather than as a first response, which is to be commended." However the report noted that "Our timeline analysis points to a decline in police restraint over a period of time”.
Late Saturday evening about 100 Police attacked a festive gathering outside Parliament House.
On Sunday police in a running baton charge attacked a small group of anti-G20 protesters at the Melbourne Museum causing injuries to one person requiring an ambulance. The same day, non-uniformed police detained a man, Drasko Bolejevic, after he was mistakenly identified as being involved with the G20 protests. Mr Bolejevic alleged he was abused and assaulted before being released from custody without charge two hours later.
Victoria Police set up Operation Salver to investigate further possible charges from the G20 protest. In January 2007 police released to the media 28 photos of 'persons of interest' to their investigation. Terry O'Gorman from the Australian Council for Civil Liberties described their publication as an "impermissible and unfair practice" and "Because of the longstanding court rules that where identity is an issue, photographs should not be published, the police, in publishing these photographs, have gone beyond what is permissible and should be criticised for it," As of March 2007, 40 people have been arrested over the protest on charges including riot, affray, and criminal damage. No police have been disciplined for their behaviour.
- 1. Argentina
- 2. Australia
- 3. Brazil
- 4. Canada
- 5. China
- 6. European Union, including
- 7. France
- 8. Germany
- 9. Italy
- 10. Turkey
- 11. India
- 12. Indonesia
- 13. Japan
- 14. Mexico
- 15. Russia
- 16. Saudi Arabia
- 17. South Africa
- 18. South Korea
- 19. United Kingdom
- 20. United States
- Reserve Bank of Australia media release No: 2006-12.
- Melbourne prepares for G20 Summit ABC online November 15, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- "Melbourne prepares for G20 forum". ABC AM. 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- Energy chiefs sneak into G20 David Uren and Natasha Robinson, The Australian, November 16, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- G20 Meeting invites Business, Excludes Civil Society Melbourne Indymedia November 21, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- Summit concludes with push for free trade in oil Tim Colebatch, The Age, November 20, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- Leaders to tackle climate Tim Colebatch, The Age, November 17, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- G20 2006 Communique (http://www.g20.org/Public/Communiques/Pdf/2006_australia.pdf - dead link) Quote taken from G20 Meeting invites Business, Excludes Civil Society Melbourne Indymedia November 21, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- Oxfam urges G20 countries to increase aid ABC online, Nov 19, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- Office Occupation at Oricas Head Office in Melbourne Melbourne Indymedia Friday November 17, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- Ten News, aired Friday November 17, 2006. Network Ten.
- G20 Actions, Friday Morning Melbourne Indymedia Friday November 17, 2006 at 12:40 PM
- G20 protesters occupy Melbourne offices The Australian, November 17, 2006. Accessed September 17, 2007
- G20 protests planned Green Left 21 October 2006. Accessed September 15, 2007
- On the ground at the G20 protests Cam Smith, Crikey, 20 November 2006. Accessed September 15, 2007
- brief G20 report Leftwrites Blog November 18, 2006. Accessed September 15, 2007
- Arterial Bloc for G20 (sydney) Melbourne Indymedia Wednesday October 25, 2006. Accessed September 13, 2007
- The battle of Collins Street The Age, Gary Tippet, Mark Russell and Chantal Rumble, November 19, 2006. Accessed September 13, 2007
- "Police warn of G20 office protests" . The Age, 15 November 2006.
- Human Rights Observers Release Statement on G20 . Melbourne Indymedia, 27 November 2006.
- 100 Police attack G20 Festive Gathering Melbourne Indymedia, November 19, 2006. Accessed September 13, 2007
- Police Attack Protestors Causing Severe Injuries Melbourne Indymedia, November 20, 2006. Accessed September 13, 2007
- Drasko Boljevic was abducted and terrorised on Sunday 16th Nov. 2006 Melbourne Indymedia, November 22, 2006. Accessed September 13, 2007
- Student held on damage and stealing charges Dan Oakes, The Age, November 20, 2006. Accessed September 13, 2007
- More arrests likely as police probe violence The Age November 20, 2006. Accessed September 15, 2007
- Police release G20 'people of interest' photos Dan Oakes, The Age, January 19, 2007. Accessed September 15, 2007
- Police makes further arrests over G20 protests ABC Mar 14, 2007. Accessed September 15, 2007
- Official G 20 website - website changes each year with chair country.
- Discussion and reflections on the g20 protests