FALMOUTH, England – It was no diaper-clad Donald J. Trump, but this year’s Group of 7 event got its own inflatable mascot on Friday: a floating blimp caricaturing President Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, holding hands and waving, each wearing swimming trunks in the design of their national flags.
A coalition of advocates behind the blimp took reporters and photographers on a morning cruise in the fog and drizzle, known in Cornwall as “mizzle”, after a morning cruise in the fog and drizzle – known in Cornwall as ‘mizzle’ – to see how it starts on the shores of a fishing port in Cornish where the world’s news media is stored. to cover the summit.
Despite the atmosphere, the stark contrast between the two inflatables has highlighted how challenging it is to be a Group 7 activist this year, dealing with the pandemic, a hermetically sealed summit and a new US president who is struggling is to get worked up over.
While the photographers bounced in the waves and took pictures of Biden and Boris, representatives of the groups set out their agenda for world leaders. They urged them to expedite donations of coronavirus vaccines, introduce stricter measures to curb climate change and tackle income and gender inequality – all of which are on the leaders’ agenda to some extent.
While the activists were talking, a few rays of the sun pierced the mist. This led to an eruption of hockey metaphors – perhaps the ‘lifting the fog’ of the leaders’ deliberations, one said – while the hosts did their best to entertain their news-disturbed guests.
“We’re trying to organize optimism to have an impact,” said Jamie Drummond, a spokesman for Crack the Crises, a group of 70 advocacy groups that organized a series of events related to the Group of 7 meeting. ‘But there are many reasons to be very angry too. Not enough is being done. ”
The weakening of anger is not easy when Covid restrictions make it difficult to mobilize large crowds, security cordons keep protesters miles away from where the leaders live, and one of the main antagonists at such rallies, Mr. Trump, has been replaced by the more mitigating. Mr. Biden.
When the Trump baby balloon flew over London for the first time in July 2018 during a visit by Mr. Trump, more than 100,000 protesters were ready to watch. It has become such a celebrated image that the Museum of London has acquired it this year to display in a collection on demonstrations.
Slightly smaller, less openly ridiculous and locally produced, the Biden-Boris trap will soar in Falmouth’s harbor, where it can be viewed by journalists and scattered tourists in an otherwise cordoned-off harbor.
Just like mr. Biden was an elusive target for Republicans at home, it’s hard to make it bad abroad. So far, he has told Mr. Johnson said of his new wife, Carrie Johnson, that they both ‘got married above their station’, and he went on a happy walk with the first lady, dr. Jill Biden, wearing a black jacket with the word “LOVE” on the back.
During his first group of 7, Mr. Trump followed a golf cart as the other leaders took to the streets of Taormina, Sicily. On another trip, his wife wore a jacket with the expression, “I really do not care, do you?” scratched on the back.
Apart from mr. Biden and the Covid effect, which limits travel to Britain, these meetings no longer draw the crowd of protesters they once did. In 1998, 70,000 people formed a chain of people surrounding the city center of Birmingham, England, where President Bill Clinton and other leaders meet.
In 2001, in Italy, more than 200,000 protesters gathered in Group 7 in Genoa, starting clashes with police, culminating in dozens of injuries and arrests. The fear of a terrorist attack was so great that the Italian authorities set up an air exclusion zone around Genoa and placed aircraft batteries against aircraft.
In 2007, in Germany, a more soothing case, protesters continued to play cat-and-mouse with the police and jumped out of the woods with black hoods and bandannas to throw tree blades across the road to gain access to the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm to block.
Since then, the group of 7 organizers has become much more effective at placing distance between activists and the leaders. On Friday, about 70 anti-climate change protesters marched through Falmouth chanting, “No justice, no peace.” Falmouth is an hour’s drive from Carbis Bay, where the leaders are staying.
The airtight security presence did not deter activists from creatively dramatizing their affairs. Some of the most striking examples are “Mount Recyclemore,” a tribute to the carved granite heads of Mount Rushmore, consisting of discarded circuit boards, laptop covers and scattered cell phone pieces.
In this installation, which overlooks sand dunes not far from Carbis Bay, are the heads of the group of 7 leaders, and the message is the environmental damage caused by the disposal of electronic waste.
Despite all his calling as a target, some argue that Mr. Trump was not good for protesters because his disregard for rules and norms called into question the whole reasoning for the group of 7.
“What’s the point of leaving your home and traveling hundreds of miles if it’s not going to make a difference?” said Denisse Rudich, director of the G7 Research Group in London. “This has raised questions about the relevance of the meeting.”
While the activists banded together on the deck of their chartered boat, recalling the previous group of 7 meetings, some lamented that the virus had kept people away. “This one would have been massive, but for the pandemic,” he said. Drummond, who is an experienced veteran of these events, founded and founded the advocacy group One with Bono, the lead singer of U2.
He insisted that the new US president did not take the wind out of the advocacy efforts. There was no personal group of 7 last year, he said, and the combination of a health and climate crisis has given this event just as much urgency as any previous summit.
“There are hard facts and data – about Covid, about climate, about ecology and about injustice – that are not being addressed,” he said. Drummond said. “And the response of leaders does not match these crises.”
Yet the image of mr. Biden and mr. Johnson waves to wave those ashore, less like a cry for help than a reminder of the lavish unity display by the two leaders when they first met the previous day.
Megan Specia contributed reporting from London.