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US AND INTERNATIONAL DELEGATES OUTRAGED AT US WTHDRAWAL FROM UN WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM

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The announcement that the US would only retain one delegate at the conference caused a furor among both US activists at the Conference and among other nations delegations. U.S. NGO leaders organized a spontaneous march to the steps of the International Convention Center and held a press conference there. Police met the protesters, and barred them from entering the building for which they had official credentials. TAPE: JESSE JACKSON. Jesse Jackson, who is attending the conference against racism as a member of the Black Leadership Forum, is disappointed that President Bush has allowed the debate over referring to Israeli practices and Zionism to determine whether the US would participate. Democracy Now spoke to him after he heard the news. TAPE: RIGOBERTA MENCHU. Rigoberta Menchu, a Mayan Quichan Indian from Guatemala, has been active in the farm workers rights movement Committee of the Peasant Union since 1979. In 1980, her fatheralso an activist in the farmworkers rights movement— was killed when security forces in the capital stormed the Spanish Embassy where he and some other peasants were staying. Shortly afterwards, her mother died after having been arrested, tortured and raped. In 1981, Mench had to go into hiding in Guatemala, and then flee to Mexico. In 1992, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as an organizer of resistance to Guatemalan oppression and the struggle for Indian peasant peoples’ rights that she presents in her book “I, Rigoberta Menchu.” Menchu is also in Durban for the world conference. TAPE: ALI ONTEEN, with the African NGO Caucus to the Conference on Racism. He has traveled to Durban from Dakar, Senegal. TAPE: SPONTAENOUS PROTEST MARCH TO THE CONVENTION CENTER AND PRESS CONFERENCE

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