The G20 Update

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Linda Rodriguez is reporting from London with more on the G20 and how it's progressing both inside and out. We'll let her take it from here. 

So, What's going on Inside

As world leaders continue to duke it out over tougher financial rules versus more bailouts and increased spending inside the G20, protestors and demonstrators are duking it out in the streets.

The latest from inside the summit has a surprise Franco-German alliance squaring off against a US-UK partnership, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanding more strict regulation of the current global financial system. It's time, Sarkozy said, "to give capitalism a conscience," and the countries are asking for a crack down on tax havens and reformation of the "bonus culture" in banking.

For their part, UK Prime Minister Gordon and President Barack Obama are asking that countries boost their internal spending in order to get out of the recession faster. Obama, speaking at a joint US and UK press conference, put pressure on the other G20 countries to initiate their own stimulus packages, saying, "It cannot just be the United States that's the engine room "“ everybody is going to have to pick up the pace."

France and Germany launched their offensive at a press conference last night, ahead of today's official G20 talks "“ while the official decisions will likely be made there, more actually seems to get done outside the actual meeting, at "working dinners," one-on-one negotiations, and well, press conferences.

What's going on Outside

Outside the meetings, G20 demonstrations have turned violent. One protestor has already died in yesterday's demonstrations:

According to news reports, officers, responding to reports of a man found unconscious on a City sidewalk, were pelted with attempting to revive him. The victim, whose name has not been released and who has been described as a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Nearly 90 people were arrested yesterday, including four for violent disorder and 11 for possessing a police uniform; an angry mob trashed a Bank of England and a Royal Bank of Scotland, busting windows, scrawling graffiti on the walls, and looting as they went.

More protests are planned for today, including protestors banging on the doors of the hotels where delegates are staying (good luck with that), youth protestors to march on the ExCel Centre, where the G20 talks are being held, and as yet undefined Anarchist protests. For a complete list of protests and events, click here.

Outside of London's city central and away from the Docklands, however, life is pretty much proceeding as normal. While tube and bus services were impacted yesterday afternoon, little else was "“ though conversations on street corners and in shops have invariably turned to the G20. One topic of conversation: Why did the Americans want so much protection for President Obama, even going so far as to ask that drains to the Thames be sealed near the ExCel Centre?

April 2, 2009 - 7:27am
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