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2,000 in chant for priority on huma

South China Morning Post
Tuesday  November 25  1997

Apec Summit 

2,000 in chant for priority on human rights 
Soggy protest: An estimated 2,000 protesters braved heavy rain to demand
that the Apec meeting tackle human rights and social issues, instead of
purely economic concerns. 
About 2,000 chanting demonstrators protested outside the Apec summit,
calling on leaders to put human rights and other social issues higher on
their agenda.

They marched in heavy rain through Vancouver's main streets to the
waterfront convention centre where officials were meeting to discuss free

Billing themselves the "People's Summit", the activists sought to
highlight a host of causes ranging from workers' rights to the
environment and the perils of free trade.

Waving placards and puppet caricatures of Asian leaders, they also called
for greater freedom in China, Tibet, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Burma.

"There are two words that can't live in harmony together - Apec and
democracy," Jane Kelsey, a New Zealand professor who helped organise the
event, told the demonstrators.

A police security cordon kept the protesters from approaching the
building's entrance.

Organisers of the People's Summit presented a declaration to Canadian
officials urging greater focus on human rights.

Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy praised their efforts. "We think
the People's Summit has been a constructive exercise," he said. "The
issues they raised about looking at the social and economic consequences
of trade and economic development were seen as matters that need to be

Forty cars bedecked with pictures of Chinese political prisoners paraded
through the streets.

At a rally for Tibetan independence from China, about 175 people burned
incense, rang bells and waved posters of the Dalai Lama.

Svend Robinson, a Canadian MP who attended the protest, said the message
was for all the leaders at Apec and not President Jiang Zemin. "Their
countries should be about respect for human rights. We demand it be on
the agenda of Apec as well," he said.