THE BIGGEST street protest in London since the start of the Iraq War goes ahead on Saturday, with at least a hundred thousand people expected to turn up to express their anger at the world’s financial elite, who are meeting in London next week.

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Marching under the Put People First umbrella, dozens of charities, church organisations, trade unions, environmental groups and leftist parties are to come together to put pressure on power brokers to stop bailing out the banks that caused the slump and invest instead in the real economy.

“We are about to spend our money and our children’s money in a one-off spending fest. What are we going to get for it?” said Benedict Southworth, of the World Development Movement.

“We want a lot more than just the banks being propped up.”

Saturday’s march is the first in a week of activism planned to coincide with the London meeting of the leaders and financiers of 20 of the world’s leading economies – known as the G20.

Barak Obama is the big name draw, but the likes of China president Hu Jintao, Russia leader Dmitry Medvedev and our own Gordon Brown are all in town as well.

Meanwhile, Chris Knight, one of the organisers for the G20 Meltdown direct action event planned for Wednesday, has been suspended from his job as a professor by the University of East London.

The university has refused to reveal its reasons, but Knight’s comments about “hanging bankers” are thought to be the issue. In fact, Knight has been careful in his statements to say he is not calling for such extreme violence.

“I’m afraid there will be real bankers hanging from lampposts and let’s hope that that doesn’t actually have to happen,” is one typical Knight comment.

The Put People First march starts at around noon on Saturday from the embankment (nearest Tube, Temple) and speeches and music at Hype Park start from around 2.30pm.

Knock Some Sense into Them

How to put children on world leaders’ agenda

Knock Some Sense Into Them is a viral film designed as a part of a broader campaign to give the world’s poorest children a voice at the G-20 summit of world leaders who are gathering in London on April 2 to discuss a way out of the financial crisis.

The film carries the simple message “They’ve helped save the banks and big business. Now it’s time they helped save children’s lives.”

Unlike big business, children don’t have shareholders. Which is probably why they don’t have a voice at the G-20. Yet the world’s poorest children are already suffering the worst effects of the financial crisis. If we don’t act now, up to 2.8 million more children could die by 2015 – many because they just don’t have enough to eat.

While the financial institutions have been bailed out to the tune of $2.5 trillion, saving these children’s lives would take only a tiny fraction of this amount.

The film is backed up with a targeted press and outdoor campaign carrying the same message and the image of a child holding the Chancellor’s budget box while standing on the steps of Downing Street. The headline bluntly emphasizes where the agenda lies in the eyes of the world’s leaders. And it’s not with children.

Life-size cut-outs of this message and the boy holding the budget box will line the route of the ‘Put People First’ march that will precede the G-20 summit on Saturday March 28. Teams of Save the Children support workers will collect names for the petition from the 20,000 protestors expected to turn out.