Promises and protests at the G7 in Cornwall – photo essay


With more than 6,000 police deployed to Cornwall for the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, there were surreal sights everywhere: armed officers on residential streets, snipers on rooftops, marine units in St Ives harbour and battleships in the sea. Many residents revelled in the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the action as world leaders and diplomats were convoyed into Carbis Bay, while others objected to the draconian restrictions which included a so-called “ring of steel” around the neighbourhood.

A Navy ship off the coast of St Ives, Cornwall, before the G7 Summit.
Officers respond to an unexpected protest in St Ives.
Policemen talking to children along the main road through Carbis Bay.
A man remonstrates with police over restrictions in Carbis Bay.
A heavy police presence on the train line into Carbis Bay
Officers enjoying ice creams during the sweltering heat on Sunday.

The US president, Joe Biden, landed at Newquay airport in Air Force One amid dense fog, before fellow leaders including the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, touched down the following day. They would spend the next three days in talks, ultimately promising to gift 1bn Covid-19 vaccines to countries in need. The summit’s showpiece event, the G7 leaders’ “family photo”, was staged on the beach in front of Carbis Bay hotel. Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie, looked at ease as they elbow-bumped their guests, while Biden was seen in deep conversation with the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

A guard of honour being formed for the arrival of a world leader at Newquay airport
The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and his partner, Amelie Derbaudrenghien (in green), meeting Georgina Butler, special representative of the foreign secretary (purple)
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, waves to the media on arrival at Newquay Airport.
Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson walk out for the G7 leaders' 'family photo' in Carbis Bay
The Johnsons meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and his partner, Brigitte Macron.
Boris Johnson greets German chancellor Angela Merkel with an elbow bump.
Joe Biden in deep discussion with Emmanuel Macron as they leave the event.
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden gesture during the family photo.

Protesters from all corners of the world made their voices heard. Extinction Rebellion held daily rallies including an eerie penitents march through Falmouth to draw attention to the climate emergency; Surfers Against Sewage organised a mass paddle out at Gyllyngvase beach over concerns about the plight of the oceans; there was a fiery “kill the bill” demonstration opposing proposed new police powers; Palestinians and Kashmiris gathered to condemn violence against their people; and Marvina Newton gave an impassioned speech on the subject of racial justice.

Surfers passing by 'Mount Recyclemore' in Hayle, a monument of the G7 leaders built from old technological waste
Abden Sham from UKPal at a protest in support of Palestine and Kashmir
A civil rights protester showcasing the amount of money G7 countries spent on arms in 2020
Marvina Newton of United for Black Lives during a rally for those affected by ongoing violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and other countries throughout Africa
People walk past a sign saying 'Drowning in Promises' written near the media centre in Falmouth
Kill the Bill protesters in Falmouth
A banner saying 'fork the pigs' at the protest in Falmouth
A man emerges through a banner saying 'resist and trespass' at the 'kill the bill' protest
Extinction Rebellion protesters at a 'discobedience' event on the beach in St Ives
Extinction Rebellion revellers in Falmouth
Extinction Rebellion protesters blocking a pelican crossing in St Ives
'Penitents' at the Extinction Rebellion event in Falmouth


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