Thousands protest against GST

Thousands of islanders took to the seafront yesterday in one of the biggest protests Guernsey has seen as they marched against the introduction of a goods and services tax.

With estimates putting the crowd at anywhere between 2,500 and 5,000, organisers were clearly bowled over by the support – a far cry from the modest turnout at a similar protest staged last summer.

But that had taken place without the considerable backing of a group of deputies who had come out against a GST and without the ribbons, banners and flyers which had been prominent around the island over the last few days.

Leading the deputies’ protest and leading the march was Carl Meerveld, brandishing a home-made anti-GST flag.

‘The reality is I believe that GST will be thrown out this week, but then the really hard just conversation starts,’ he told people crammed into Market Square for the post-march rally.

‘We as a community need to decide the size and style of government we want and how much we want to pay for it or how much we’re willing to pay for it.’

The rally was hosted by Deputy Liam McKenna who introduced Korinne Le Page from the Guernsey Retail Group, Deputy Meerveld and Deputy Charles Parkinson, who urged people to attend a protest on the steps of the Royal Court on Wednesday in an effort to persuade deputies who might be on the fence on the issue.

‘They will bow to people power if we all turn up there and show them how much Guernsey cares about this issue,’ he said.

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