Last week, the G20 Finance Ministers met in Paris to discuss applying a financial transaction tax on banks worldwide. Nicknamed ‘The Robin Hood Tax’, this tiny tax on bankers would raise billions to tackle world poverty and climate change. For example, if governments took a tiny tax from international bankers’ transactions, it could generate hundreds of billions of dollars every year – that could stop cuts in crucial public services at home in UK (where the campaign is based), and help fight global poverty and climate change.
With banks returning to profits and ongoing public anger as the effects of the financial crisis continue to be felt, 2011 seems like the ideal time to see a tax on banks agreed.
President Sarkozy of France, Chair of the G20 and G8 this year, is a big supporter of the Financial Transaction Tax, and has already talked about its benefits at the World Economic Forum in Davos. To help keep President Sarkozy motivated for action, Oxfam campaigners from 25 countries took to the streets and stepped up the call. They focused their efforts on the embassies of France, Germany and the UK, three countries that are essential for securing an international deal on the Robin Hood tax.
Here are a few of the highlights, collected by our partners at Oxfam International:
- Spanish merry men protested in 18 cities across the country, and this culminated in a presentation of a giant Robin Hood arrow to the French Ambassador in Madrid;
- In the US, our American friends from over 30 organizations wrote to President Obama and posed in front of the White House to photographers;
- In France, Monsieur Robin des Bois took centre stage at the launch of a new national campaign at the old Stock Exchange building in Paris;
- In Nepal, a group of development organisations are visiting the British and French embassies, dressed in traditional Robin Hood hats and masks;
- In Germany, a band of merry men arrived at the Berlin film festival in a stretched limo and attempted to strut down the red carpet for European media;
- In Senegal, activists from across the African continent posed in front of media, and this week are delivering giant campaign banners to Ambassadors in Dakar. The banners were signed by hundreds of delegates at the World Social Forum;
- British Robin Hood Tax campaigners handed in a giant ‘final demand’ notice into banks in seven cities across the country.
Stunts and campaign actions also took place in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda, and South Africa.
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