Edinburgh aftermath: police over-reach, Wolfowitz praises Geldof

Protesters are starting to leave Edinburgh, but at least four were re-arrested for violating bail conditions banning them from the city while actually trying to get out of town. Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar told the court: “The situation with public transport out of Edinburgh [on July 7] was pandemonium after the bomb blasts in London. I find it impossible to see how people are able to leave Edinburgh if the bail restrictions say they are not allowed in Edinburgh. It seems they are getting arrested by overzealous police officers.” (The Scotsman, July 9) In a proverbial case of strange bedfellows, World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz praised do-gooder rock star Bob Geldof for his campaign to pressure the G8 on African poverty. The G8 finally arrived at a deal for increased aid and debt relief for Africa. The leaders of Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania attended the summit to lobby for the debt relief program. “I thought it was extremely positive,” Wolfowitz said. “If you’d told me a couple of months ago that there would be a commitment to a doubling of aid and debt cancellation, I’d have said you were dreaming.” But he emphasized that the aid and debt relief programs are conditioned on economic reforms. “It’s a deal for a deal,” he said. (London Sunday Times, July 10)

As we have noted, some African observers are cynical about the conditional G8 poverty relief program, and about Geldof’s celebrity activist campaign.

See our last post on Edinburgh.