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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 35-36 August 26 & September 2, 2023

Statement on the Rejection of Police Permission for We20 Peoples’ Summit in New Delhi

Friday 25 August 2023


Statement on the Rejection of Police Permission for We20 Peoples’ Summit on Day 3

ON AUGUST 20, 2023

New Delhi, 20.08.23: The Delhi Police has declined permission to continue the We20 Peoples’ Summit at the HKS Surjit Bhawan this morning through a letter on the Day 3 of the Summit. We are shocked that we need to have “permission” to practice democracy.

This comes after the Delhi Police tried to disrupt the Day 2 proceedings at the event, where workshops were underway peacefully wherein various people’s issues and concerns were being deliberated upon. Yet, due to peoples’ resistance and their strong resolve, the police had to back out and the program went on as scheduled. We are truly grateful for the support and solidarity we received from all shades of democratic voices.

While in the official G20 summit there are claims of us being the “Mother of Democracy”, the state of affairs that we have witnessed here at the We20 Peoples’ Summit only goes on to show how we are inching closer to being a police state. One where even dialogues, deliberations inside the four walls and thoughts are being policed.

It is due to the spirited support of over 700 people who had gathered from over 18 states and the resilience of the all the participants that we held our ground. We condemn this rejection of permission and consider this as a deliberate attempt to silence peoples’ voices. In the given circumstances, the people gathered are forced to conclude the summit. They will do so by reading out a declaration.

While the elite club will commence their summit next month, it will be one that is less about people and their real concerns; and more about the same doses neoliberal policy prescriptions of their masters that has led us into crisis. We are glad that the We 20 Peoples’ Summit gave us the opportunity where real issues like inequality, climate crisis, just energy transition, labour rights, social protection, corporatisation of agriculture, attack on natural resources could be discussed, and real alternatives could be deliberated upon.

In the 200 plus meetings held in different cities under the official process, we did not find the reflections of the concerns of the toiling masses and what ails the economy today. Hence, we must say that it does not end here. Democratic deliberations will continue across India to raise the concerns of the poor, the marginalised and the oppressed.

We urge the people across the globe to reclaim the spaces of democracy and dissent and continue deliberations for social and political alternatives to this neoliberal order.

Signed by

Working Group On International Financial Institutions

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