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Ken slams G20 summit

PUBLISHED: 15:37 27 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:03 07 September 2010

FORMER Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has slammed the decision to hold the G20 summit in the capital next week and said it promises a hellish time for Londoners. Protest groups have already arranged a series of actions, starting from tomorrow, to mark

FORMER Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has slammed the decision to hold the G20 summit in the capital next week and said it promises a hellish time for Londoners.

Protest groups have already arranged a series of actions, starting from tomorrow, to mark the arrival of the world's leaders for the meeting.

Thousands of police have been drafted in and bankers have been warned to wear casual clothes to avoid demonstrators turning on them.

Mr Livingstone said the events starting tomorrow will cause huge problems for the capital.

"I think they are mad to call it in London, just as they would have been to call it in New York or anywhere else - you're guaranteed a riot," the former mayor said.

"I strongly opposed ever having the G20 or World Trade Organisation conferences in London.

"The cost of policing to keep them safe is at least £10million and it will take suburban patrols [off their beat].

"It's a huge disruption to people's work and lives and it worked perfectly well at Gleneagles in 2005,

"If you put on a big sporting event like we did with the Tour de France it generates tourism revenues. We spent £5million on the Tour de France and got about £100million.

"Here there will be some spend by journalists coming from abroad to cover it but they won't cover the costs of this."

Road and tube closures have already been warned for around the City, where the majority of demonstrations will be focused.

Several of the events will be peaceful as activists call on world leaders to act on climate change and poverty, when they meet on Thursday.

Police say it is only a minority of activists who are in danger of turning violent.

Ken Livingstone was speaking in an exclusive interview with the Ham&High.

For the full interview covering the former mayor's views on the environment, the recession, Camden and Barnet Assembly Member Brian Coleman and his successor Boris Johnson, see next week's Ham&High.


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