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Demonstrators plan 401 slowdown in advance of G8

KINGSTON, Ont. -- Eastern Ontario activists plan to bring Hwy. 401 to a near standstill next Tuesday by way of a co...

KINGSTON, Ont. — Eastern Ontario activists plan to bring Hwy. 401 to a near standstill next Tuesday by way of a convoy moving at a snail’s pace.

The move is aimed in protest at next week’s G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Alta. Organizers of the Kingston-led caravan met earlier this week to sort of the details of their plot.

“It’s our way of saying that today is not going to be business as usual,” Kathryn Elmer, one of several local organizers, told participants at the strategy meeting.

Drivers and passengers will meet at Blockbuster Video on Queen Street at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and plan to drive toward Belleville, forming a blockade by driving cars side-by-side at about 60 kilometres per hour.

Once in Belleville, the convoy will pick up more people, then turn around and drive to Hwy. 416, the main artery to Ottawa, where an anti-globalization festival is taking place Wednesday and Thursday.

The purpose of the slow-moving convoy is to take advantage of the modern economy’s reliance on just-in-time delivery of product.

“This sort of economic disruption is a way to take (back) an economy that has largely been taken out of the control of people in communities and made more and more global in its running,” Elmer tells local media.

Another, more detailed tactical meeting is expected to take place Monday at 7 p.m. at Artillery Park in Kingston.

This will be the third anti-globalization highway blockade organized by Kingston social activists. Last October, members of the People’s Community Union, local high school students and the Queen’s Coalition Against Corporate Globalization led a slow-moving convoy to a massive, 2,000-person rally on Bay Street in Toronto.

The People’s Community Union, a local activist group, staged the first Kingston-led highway caravan in April 2001, on their way to the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City.

Both actions angered truckers and travellers alike, but went off without any accidents, leaving activists feeling triumphant for having peacefully demonstrated that regular people acting together have the power to slow down the North American economy.

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