BOMBAY - Thousands of activists from across the globe will gather in Bombay this week for an anti-globalisation meeting that will culminate with a huge demonstration against the U.S. attack on Iraq.
Starting Friday, hundreds of grassroots organisations will hold a series of talkfests during the six-day World Social Forum on a range of issues from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan to crimes against women, racism and communalism.
The Forum will end with a massive demonstration on January 21 that will wind its way through an ancient fort area in the heart of the island city to protest against "imperialist globalisation" and the attack in Iraq.
"Our emphasis will be that the U.S. must leave Iraq," A.D. Golandaz, a member of the organising committee of the annual World Social Forum being held in India for the first time, told Reuters.
The World Social Forum is designed as an alternative platform to the World Economic Forum scheduled to take place in Davos, Switzerland, later this month.
Last year, the Forum made headlines in Brazil after it triggered several demonstrations worldwide against a then imminent attack on Iraq.
Among the 75,000 intellectuals, authors and peace activists expected to hold animated discussions at the Forum's 800 seminars are Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and Joseph E. Stiglitz, economics professor at Columbia University.
But in Bombay the event is facing resistance from some leftist social groups and Muslim organisations who plan to hold a similar event close to the Forum's venue.
"The irony is their funds come from the countries they are opposed to, that is America and Britain," said Feroze Mithiborwala, spokesman for Mumbai Resistance 2004.
"How do you expect any kind of change or transformation in this world?"
Copyright 2004 Reuters Ltd