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India, Bangladesh protests over Clinton visit

At every turn in President Bill Clinton's tour of India and Bangladesh, there were protesters there to challenge him. Only in Pakistan, where the military government banned all protests, were there no demonstrations.

Days of student actions led up to Clinton's March 20 visit to Bangladesh. On March 14, protesters burned an effigy of Clinton in front of the U.S. embassy. On the day Clinton arrived, police attacked the demonstrators, injuring at least 15.

A statement by the Left Democratic Front declared: "We are organizing this protest against U.S. policy towards Bangladesh, looting our natural resources, imposing U.S. control over our land and above all the conspiracy to entangle Bangladesh with the U.S. military and war-mongering politics in this region."

Mass protests were held throughout India starting with his arrival on March 19 in Kerala. Actions were held in city after city from Dehli to Calcutta.

The Socialist Unity Center of India reported that Clinton was confronted with shouts of "U.S. imperialism, hands off Iraq," "Stop U.S. intervention in the Indian economy," "Vacate Kosovo and Iraq," and "Warmonger Clinton go back."

The SUC reported that speakers at the rallies condemned "the many U.S. imperialist attacks on sovereign countries under the leadership of Bill Clinton leading to death and misery of thousands of innocent men, women and children." Particularly, the sanctions in Iraq, Cuba and Yugoslavia; the missile attacks on Iraq; the bombardment of Yugoslavia; the missile attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan; the military presence in East Timor; and the occupation of Haiti.

Another focus of the protests is the takeover of the assets of the South East Asian economies by U.S. multinational corporations. Ever since the economic crisis that swept Asia, U.S. banks and corporations have "re-colonized" Asia. This was part of the focus of the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle last year and will be a focus of demonstrations against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington on April 16.

--Gary Wilson

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