Tags: un | protests

Protests Swirl as U.N. General Assembly Opens

Monday, 22 Sep 2008 11:37 AM

By Stewart Stogel

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As sure as the advent of autumn, the annual United Nations General Assembly is sparking protests, but U.S. politics are adding a new hue to the fall palette.

Leading up to the opening Monday, some of the protests were between Democrats and Republicans.

A consortium of Jewish and anti-Iranian groups planned a rally at Dag Hammarskjold Park, across the street from U.N. headquarters, timed for the arrival of Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York City.

President George W. Bush and Ahmadinejad are to address the assembly. Newsmax has learned that the White House was pushing for a meeting of the Security Council to discuss Iran's defiance while the president is at the U.N.

Meanwhile, VIP's invited to address the protesters included Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rep. Jerry Nadler, both New York Democrats. But last week, word leaked that the organizers also invited Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Sen. John McCain’s running mate for president.

That's when a real protest began. The Democrats decided to boycott the function, claiming that inviting Palin politicized the event. Local talk radio shows skewered Clinton and Nadler.

The fight between the Democrats and Republicans grew to the point where latest word from the organizers was not to invite any of the politicians to the event.

As the U.S. politicians squabbled, the Israeli-Jewish community continued to prepare its protest. On Thursday, the Israel Project, a nonprofit educational organization, had a news conference announcing its intent to air a series of television commercials highlighting the "Iranian threat" to the world community.

The ads are scheduled to air on CNN, Headline News, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, and local New York stations.

The spots were developed to "raise awareness about Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology in defiance of the international community," said Jennifer Mizrahi, president of the Israel Project.

While the Iranian issue is sure to grab headlines, other clashes seem to be in the offing.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who stands accused of stealing a recent election, will be at the assembly, if for no other reason than to poke his finger in the eye of the international community that has imposed economic and political sanctions.

Then, there is the brewing battle over Russia’s recent invasion of Georgia. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are expected to cross swords.

Add the arrival of Ukraine's president, Viktor Yuschenko, whom Moscow tried to poison with Dioxin in 2004, and sparks are ready to fly.

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