G20 protests begin with mock tropical tax haven set up in Brisbane

The Guardian
8 November 2014

Protesters dressed up as corporate accountants highlight the issue of multinational tax dodging before G20 summit

Protesters from Micah Challenge, a movement of Christian agencies, churches and individuals, hold a mock tax haven event in the Brisbane on Saturday. Photograph: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images

About 100 people dressed up as corporate accountants have finished off their mocktails and folded away beach chairs as the first G20-related protest wraps up in Brisbane.

Protesters from anti-poverty campaign Micah Challenge set up a mock tropical tax haven in the central city on Saturday to highlight the issue of multinational tax dodging.

The campaign claims $160bn is robbed from developing countries annually through tax loopholes.

Spokeswoman Angela Owen said the protest, the first of a number of rallies expected during the G20 leaders’ summit next week, was peaceful and well received.

“A lot of people said they supported our message and others said it was a really creative demonstration,” she said.

Police confirmed there were no arrests.

Meanwhile, the G20 declared zone in central Brisbane came into effect on Saturday.

About 6,000 police, including 1,500 from interstate and New Zealand, will patrol the area until restrictions are relaxed on 17 November.

Protesters raise a glass at the mock tax haven in Brisbane. Photograph: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images

Under the G20 (Safety and Security) Act, police will have the power to search people within the declared zone if they suspect them of having prohibited items.

Deputy commissioner, Ross Barnett, has reassured residents that only those who break the rules will be punished.

“There’s got to be a connection between the item and some intent to possibly disrupt the event or hurt some person,” he said.

“The item itself is not strictly the issue. It’s the time, date and place that it’s used and the intent of the person who has it.”

Banned items include obvious things like firearms, knives and explosives, however, they also include eggs, kites and glass jars, which are prohibited without a lawful excuse for possessing them.

Restricted areas will also come into effect gradually in the lead-up to the summit on 15 and 16 November.

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