2006 G20 ministerial meeting
The 2006 G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held in Melbourne between 18 and 19 November 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 number 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 17 November due to protest action against ANZ investment in military industries.
Behaviour of protestorsEdit
The main anti-globalisation protest was organised by the StopG20 coalition for Saturday 18 November. 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.
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".
On Sunday police executed a baton charge against a 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. As of March 2007, 40 people have been arrested over the protest on charges including riot, affray, and criminal damage.
- "Reserve Bank of Australia media release No: 2006-12". Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
- Melbourne prepares for G20 Summit ABC online 15 November 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2007
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- Energy chiefs sneak into G20 David Uren and Natasha Robinson, The Australian, 16 November 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2007
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- Leaders to tackle climate Tim Colebatch, The Age, 17 November 2006. Retrieved 17 September 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 Archived 7 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine Melbourne Indymedia 21 November 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2007
- Oxfam urges G20 countries to increase aid ABC online, 19 November 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2007
- Office Occupation at Oricas Head Office in Melbourne Melbourne Indymedia Friday 17 November 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2007
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- The battle of Collins Street The Age, Gary Tippet, Mark Russell and Chantal Rumble, 19 November 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2007
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- Human Rights Observers Release Statement on G20 . Melbourne Indymedia, 27 November 2006.
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- Drasko Boljevic was abducted and terrorised on Sunday 16th Nov. 2006 Melbourne Indymedia, 22 November 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2007
- Student held on damage and stealing charges Dan Oakes, The Age, 20 November 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2007
- More arrests likely as police probe violence The Age 20 November 2006. Retrieved 15 September 2007
- Police makes further arrests over G20 protests ABC 14 March 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2007