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BRICS leaders brace for protests

The break the BRICS coalition plans to march to the convention centre to submit a memorandum to representatives as part of its campaign against what it calls the capitalistic nature of BRICS.

The flags of the BRICS member nations. Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG – BRICS leaders are bracing for a day of protests by a coalition of environmentalists, trade unions and communities from various parts of the world on day two of their summit in Sandton.

The Break the BRICS Coalition plans to march to the convention centre to submit a memorandum to representatives as part of its campaign against what it calls the capitalistic nature of BRICS.

Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are meeting to discuss trade co-operation and other issues.

The Break the BRICS Coalition's Trevor Ngwane says the bloc is catering for big businesses only, instead of the working class.

“It must get its mandate from the working class and the poor. At the moment BRICS is a BRICS of big business, people who are in power who are cutting deals above and sometimes against the wishes of the people.”

A look at the five Brics nations ahead of the 10th Brics Summit being hosted by member South Africa. Picture: AFP

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa says this year’s BRICS summit comes at a time when there’s unprecedented challenges facing the multilateral global trading system.

He’s expressed concern about trade wars and the rise in unilateral measures that are incompatible with the World Trade Organisation’s rules and he’s called for serious discussions on the way forward.

While US President Donald Trump insists that the unilateral imposition of tariffs to protect US industry is justified, there’s been growing concerns about this from BRICS nations.

Both South African Ramaphosa and Chinese President Xi Jinping have sounded warning bells over a growing global trend of protectionism and trade wars.

Addressing the BRICS business forum Wednesday, Ramaphosa said there needs to be a thorough conversation on the role of trade in promoting sustainable development.

“We’re worried about the impact of these measures, especially as they impact on developing countries and economies.”

Ramaphosa says he’s concerned that international trade laws are being violated as a result of countries acting unilaterally.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)