Geldof leads thousands in call to make poverty history

Tens of thousands of people led by Bob Geldof issued a call to the G8 summit today, shouting in unison “Make Poverty History“.

Tens of thousands of people led by Bob Geldof issued a call to the G8 summit today, shouting in unison “Make Poverty History“.

The cry to national governments came at the Glastonbury Festival where Geldof led the crowd in linking hands, raising their arms and making the statement.

All the stages at the huge festival stopped their performances at just after 4pm so the entire 120,000 audience could join in.

Geldof, who was introduced by festival supremo Michael Eavis, recalled that it was 20 years ago that he had appeared at Glastonbury one week before Live Aid.

Now it was one week before Live8, the worldwide event due to support the Make Poverty History campaign.

Geldof urged each member of the audience to make their decision as individuals to join in the call to the world leaders who will meet next month in Scotland.

In a passionate speech urging support for the campaign, he said: “To die of hunger is an intellectual absurdity and morally repulsive.

“I want you to individually believe you can help change the condition of the most put-upon and beaten-down people on this planet.”

He reminded the audience of the demonstration planned in Edinburgh on July 2, and urged them to watch the Live8 broadcasts or shows wherever possible to support the campaign.

Mr Eavis, who was greeted with huge applause from the Pyramid stage audience, said that the festival had been turning out money for Africa for 20 years but they had only scratched the surface of the problem.

“We need to persuade the rich nations of the world to come up with the dosh to make poverty history,” he said.

As well as Geldof, African music superstar Baaba Maal appeared on the festival’s other main stage to reinforce the moment, and all over the 1,000-acre site workers from the charities involved led the call.

Meanwhile, heavy machinery was brought on to the site to help deal with remaining isolated instances of flooding after yesterday’s torrential rain, while festival-goers made their way around the site through a thick carpet of cloying mud.

During yesterday’s rain storm, in which two inches of rain fell in three hours on the site, hundreds of people needed support from welfare officials after their tents and belongings were damaged by the torrents of water.

But even in the immediate aftermath of the storm, the Glastonbury spirit remained intact and the music programme was in full swing today as fans awaited headline band Coldplay supported by New Order on the main stage while Razorlight and Kasabian were due on the other stage.

:: Mud-caked revellers at the Glastonbury site were provided with clean clothes by the Salvation Army.

The charity’s shop in nearby Shepton Mallet provided the dry clothes to rain-sodden campers at the Worthy Farm site.

The Salvation Army’s emergency trailer was also on the site, providing hot drinks.

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