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30th G8 Summit
The 30th G8 summit took place in Sea Island, Georgia, United States, on June 8- June 10, 2004.
The Group of Seven (G7) was an unofficial forum which brought together the heads of the richest industrialized countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada starting in 1976. The G8, meeting for the first time in 1997, was formed with the addition of Russia.
[Saunders, Doug. [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080704.wG8-analysis05/BNStory/International/columnists "Weight of the world too heavy for G8 shoulders,"] ''Globe and Mail'' (Toronto). July 5, 2008.] In addition, the President of the European Commission has been formally included in summits since 1981. [Reuters: [http://uk.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUKB26280520080703?sp=true "Factbox: The Group of Eight: what is it?"], July 3, 2008.] The summits were not meant to be linked formally with wider international institutions; and in fact, a mild rebellion against the stiff formality of other international meetings was a part of the genesis of cooperation between France's President Giscard d'Estaing and Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as they conceived the initial summit of the Group of Six (G6) in 1975. [Reinalda, Bob and Bertjan Verbeek. (1998). [http://books.google.com/books?id=Bt3AzOHtXwgC&pg=PA205&dq=G7+summit&client=firefox-a#PPA205,M1 ''Autonomous Policy Making by International Organizations,'' p. 205.]]
The G8 summits during the twenty-first century have inspired widespread debates, protests and demonstrations; and the two- or three-day event becomes more than the sum of its parts, elevating the participants, the issues and the venue as focal points for activist pressure.
[[http://www.bond.org.uk/pages/g8.html "Influencing Policy on International Development: G8,"] BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development). 2008.]
Composition of summit leaders
Permanent G8 participants
Leaders of the G8 members included:
* Canada - Prime Minister Paul Martin.
[G8 Research Group: [http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2004seaisland/delegations.html delegations.]]
* France - President Jacques Chirac.
* Germany - Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
* Italy - Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
* Japan - Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
* Russia - President Vladimir Putin.
* United Kingdom - Prime Minister Tony Blair.
* United States - President George W. Bush.
Invited (partial participation)
Other non-G8 leaders were invited to attend and participate in the summit talks, including the heads of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan and Yemen.
[Oliver Mark. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/jun/08/g8.politics "G8 leaders meet on remote island,"] ''Guardian'' (Manchester). June 8, 2004.]
Heads of international organizations
Leaders of the major international organizations were invited to attend the summit.
* United Nations Kofi Annan, Secretary-General
* European Union - President Romano Prodi
and Bertie Ahern.
Traditionally, the host country of the G8 summit sets the agenda for negotiations, which take place primarily amongst multi-national civil servants in the weeks before the summit itself, leading to a joint declaration which all countries can agree to sign.
The summit was intended as a venue for resolving differences among its members. As a practical matter, the summit was also conceived as an opportunity for its members to give each other mutual encouragement in the face of difficult economic decisions.
Citizens' responses and authorities' counter-responses
The protests against the 2004 meeting of the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia, took place over the course of several days in the cities of Brunswick and Savannah, Ga.
The protests began with an anti-war march in Brunswick on June 8 and an anti-G8 march in Savannah. A vigil on the night of June 9 attracted 300 people and the Fair World Fair was launched. Tensions between police and protestors grew during an environmental march the following day, during which a group of demonstrators faced down riot police outside of a chemical plant.
The last and most eventful action, the March for a Free Palestine, took place in Brunswick. Several activists made a replica of part of the wall being built between Israel and Palestine, and burnt it to the ground. A breakaway march took over the causeway leading to the G8 meeting and ended in a sit-in in front of a security fence. The police arrested some fifteen people.
The protests were considerably smaller than other American protests over the past few years, including the 2003 Anti-War movement and the Summit of the Americas in Miami seven months earlier. While those events drew thousands of people and sometimes as many as 100,000, the convergence in Georgia drew about 500-700.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated the summit a National Special Security Event (NSSE), because of the protests and so many heads of state of government attending. However, DHS started to handle another NSSE at the same time: the state funeral of former president Ronald Reagan. Some of the world leaders who attended the summit decided to extend their stay in the U.S. to attend the funeral in Washington. One of them was German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Those that did not extend their stay, like Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid tribute at the summit.
For some, the G8 summit became a profit-generating event; as for example, the official ''G8 Summit'' magazines which have been published under the auspices of the host nations for distribution to all attendees since 1998.
The summit planning committee contracted with a Georgia-based wireless communication provider for 450 handsets and service to be used during the run up to the international event. In order to ensure reliable coverage in the coastal area around Sea Island, the company increased coverage and system capacity in advance of the summit. The handsets were deployed to coordinate operations, logistics, transportation, and other critical aspects of the preparations for the summit.