21 March 2005

Stars to come out for justice in world trade

Stars from stage, screen and the music world will be among thousands of people rallying in Westminster on Friday 15 April to call for Trade Justice not free trade.

Singer Ronan Keating said, "It will be an important event with millions of people all over the world calling for Trade Justice. A candlelit vigil outside Downing Street will be the biggest this country has ever seen. So come and be part of making history that night."

The all night vigil is organised by the Trade Justice Movement, whose members include MAYC World Action and the Methodist Relief and Development Fund, as part of a Global Week of Action for Trade Justice.ÊÊ It starts at Westminster Abbey with an event including songs and readings presented by Vanessa Redgrave, Pete Postlethwaite, Simon Mayo and others.

At midnight, thousands of people will gather outside Downing Street, with spectacular lanterns and candles, to call on the UK Government to stop pushing poor countries to open up their economies, and respect their right to decide on trade policies which will help them end poverty and protect their environment. The vigil will continue all night, culminating in a dawn procession and delegations meeting representatives from the main political parties.

Lizzie Jeans, World Action Secretary said: "The Global Week of Action for Trade Justice will see hundreds of events in over 70 countries.Ê The night vigil on 15 April is an unmissable opportunity for people in the UK to add their voices to a truly global campaign.Ê It's going to be an amazing night, so show that you care about those living in poverty across the world by joining us if you can. Together we can wake up UK politicians to the fact that the British public have had enough of global trade that benefits rich countries and hurts poor ones."

The programme has a huge range of indoor and outdoor activities running throughout the night:
·ÊAn ecumenical service at 2.30am in St Martin-in-the-Fields.
·ÊTrade justice cinemas at the Odeon Panton Street and Methodist Central Hall
·ÊClub night at the Marquee Club in Leicester Square featuring Nitin Sawhney, Radio 1 DJ Bobby Friction and other artists
·ÊOvernight fair trade cafŽ with breakfast served in the morning
·ÊA fleet of rickshaws to give the public free rides to all the different venues and along the amazing spectacle of Whitehall lit up by thousands of candles and lanterns

Sarah Hagger from the Methodist Relief and Development Fund said: "Methodist people have already shown their support for the trade justice campaign by turning out in force to last year's Vote for Trade Justice launch in Brighton and through casting their votes for trade justice via the Methodist Recorder.Ê Many Methodist churches will also be joining with churches across the world in following a special order of service focusing on trade justice on Sunday 10 April.Ê Whether or not you are able to stay up all night on the 15 April, please show your support by casting your vote for trade justice!"

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