A protest against the “corporate takeover” of the Olympics and the billions of pounds spent on the games during a time of recession was also held in Cardiff today, as the city hosted the first London 2012 events.
Around 10 people from the campaign group Youth Fight For Jobs gathered outside the Holiday Inn at the top of Westgate Street with banners reading “Love sport, hate capitalism” and “G4mess”.
Jaime Davies, Youth Fight For Jobs’ organiser for South East Wales, said the demonstrators were not against the sporting message of the Olympics, but against the billions of pounds in public money being spent on the games.
He said: “It is estimated these games will cost £24 billion, but there’s no investment in our public services. There are lethal cuts to the NHS, there are 2.1 million unemployed in this country, and over 1 million of those are young people. We are protesting to draw that parallel.”
Mr Davies added that the problems with security firm G4S in the run up to the games highlighted the problems with privatisation, and said there was a stark contrast between the spending and focus being placed on the Paralympic Games, and disabled workers facing unemployment as Remploy factories are closed across the UK.
He added: “We’re supposed to be grateful for the money these companies have put into the Games, but if big business paid its taxes in the first place we could easily fund them out of public money, and stop funding cuts in the NHS and other public services.”
Ramon Corria, secretary of the Cardiff Trades Council who was also at the protest, said: “A lot of people, including myself, believe that the money being spent on the Olympics is obscene when the country is in recession. There is not any money for hospitals, leisure centre and libraries are closing, and we are concerned that the money is being misused.
“We agree with the original Olympics idea, but we think it’s got so big and the capitalist sponsors have taken over. The brand police are telling local Cardiff businesses how they can advertise and what they can do, and there’s no opportunity for those businesses to make any money out of it.”
Youth Fight for Jobs will hold its own “Austerity Games” outside Cardiff City Hall on August 4, with events including the “Class Tug of War” and “Get the Sack Race”.