Every year I hear about this G20 Summit and wonder “What the heck are people protesting about?” In reality, my main question is “What the heck is the G20 Summit.” Since I know I’m not alone in this one, I decided to do some quick research and try to put it into terms that we all can understand.

G20 stands for Group Of Twenty, or even more officially, the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. This is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 economies: 19 of the world’s largest national economies, plus the European Union (EU). Their general purpose is to get together to talk about the finances of the world and how to strengthen them, as well as try to find ways to help developing nations get in on the action.

Now, to me, that sounds really admirable, and this year President Obama is planning on joining the action. So then, if their purpose is so positive, why are all these folks, and I mean tens of thousands, gathering every year to protest?

Well, that part isn’t as clear. Some people are protesting to demand jobs; some claim they want economic justice; some say they want environmental accountability. Heck, some are protesting to end war, no matter where it is. And some want war, or at least their version of it, as some anarchists are promising that there will be violence before the event starts on Thursday.

And they’re not only protesting in London. Most European nations are expecting some sort of protest in their major cities. Oddly enough, there aren’t any protests that seem to be known that will take place in the United States; seems Americans love to travel to where the trouble is occurring, instead of wasting time protesting in a place where most people won’t have any idea what they’re talking about.

In other words, the protests next week really aren’t about anything specific except the right to get together and make a lot of noise about whatever they want to make noise about. Some of the groups that are talking about finances specifically are saying that they want transparency and a democratic process in whatever the G20 comes up with. Personally, I’d have to admit that, if I knew I was going to have to deal with protests of this nature every year, I not only wouldn’t want it in my city, but if I had it at all I’d probably keep it on the downlow and secretive, and release a report or summary of what occurred after the fact. The last thing I feel we need in today’s negative economy and people’s rush to find someone to blame for it is mobs of people and the potential for violence. And, in this world of terrorists and suicide bombers, what better time to make another kind of statement, though I hope it doesn’t happen.

London, I hope this year you’ll be arming your police; you’re going to need it.

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