Christian Aid Leads Drum-Rally Against Poverty

Hundreds gathered at the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in London this afternoon to embark on a march on the Treasury to demand that the UK government cuts funding to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

|PIC1|Christian Aid's 'The Beat Goes on' campaign led passionate marchers to bang their drums, call out for justice, and make a difference.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, told Christian Today that the chances of the UK government "responding to a kind of agenda that is being presented today" are very "hopeful", and added that "there are those in government here who understand the problems that people have with the international monetary bodies."

Campaigners and marchers were greatly encouraged by this morning's announcement by Hilary Benn, the secretary of state for international development, that the UK government will withhold £50 million of its contribution to the World Bank.

Top star Ronan Keating, who also took part in the rally, shared with Christian Today: "This is only a small piece and a small amount of people gathered compared to those who care and who are listening. And when you see the changes the British government has made this morning, announcing the 50 million being withheld, it's just incredible. It's only a small gesture though, and a lot more has to be done."

"Let's hope we can get this message out today to those who have the power, to make a difference."

Daleep Mukarji, Director of Christian Aid shared with Christian Today: "I think the march will have an enormous impact on the government for two reasons. First, we'll tell them that ordinary British people, especially faith-based people, are passionately concerned about these issues. The second thing is, I think it will show the public and the government that when we do things like this, the government listens. Because the announcement of Hilary Benn said 'yes we will change some things'. It's not about the democratic process, but our way as a Christian to speak out when we see injustice, and try to influence government leaders and decision-makers."

The march concluded in Whitehall, where Christian Aid trade justice ambassadors Damian Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite delivered a speech.

It comes just days ahead of major World Bank and IMF meetings in Singapore from 18 to 20 September which will be attended by Gordon Brown.