G20 meetings always attract critics, and thousands gathered near the summit venue to denounce globalisation and demand a new approach. Seoul is on high alert with more than 30 leaders of the world’s major and leading economies in town.
Protesters say the needs and fears of ordinary people should be at the top of the agenda.
“The summit must not simply protect financial speculators,” said Kang-sil Lee, from Korea’s Alliance of Progressive Movements. “The leaders must not take any decisions which cause ordinary people to be harmed by the economic crisis.”
In contrast to some past G20 protests, this one was peaceful, although one woman doused herself in paint thinner intending to set herself on fire. She was hustled away before she could carry out her threat.
Euronews’ correspondent Seamus Kearney is in Seoul, and says the security cordon is tight:
“As you can see here, the slightest sign of protest in front of the summit venue and the police pounced immediately, blocking the protester’s placard.”
Worries about violence have forced South Korea to virtually seal off the summit venue, reinforcing the protesters’ view that the G20 leaders are increasingly out of touch with public opinion.