Protests Against Clinton Suppressed in India

President Bill Clinton was loved and adored by the women of India during his visit last month to that country--or so the US mainstream media wanted us to think. Newspapers and TV stations across the US presented pictures of the big happy guy basking in a crowd of smiling women who showered him with petals, and reached out to touch him. What a spontaneous expression of appreciation! So glad the Secret Service allowed these women to express themselves so openly.

Other residents of India were not so fortunate. The many women of Hyderabad who objected to Clinton's visit were not allowed anywhere near the President, while protests everywhere were suppressed.

At a press conference held a week before Clinton's visit, representatives of several womens organizations objected to both Clinton's treatment of women, and his murderous foreign policies. "Clinton cannot be a role-model for our children. All the world knows about his ugly episode with Monica Lewinsky. With what face is he coming to India, the land of Sati, Savitri and Sita, after insulting a woman (Monica) in front of the world."

The women referred to Clinton as a savage, killer, war-monger, and world slayer. "He should be held responsible for the killing of people in Somalia, Iraq, and for the supply of arms to Pakistan. It was at his behest that the UN imposed sanctions on several countries leaving women and children in despair," they pointed out. They added that one of the purposes of Clinton's visit was to further develop an arms market in India, and to reward particular Indian leaders who do not resist policies of the World Bank, the IMF, and corporate globalization.

The women organized a "Go Back Clinton" rally, and called upon women throughout India to condemn Clinton's visit. But wherever Clinton went in India, protests were forbidden. Police harassed citizens and imposed curfew-like conditions at the behest of US security officials. An atmosphere of terror prevailed, activists said. People residing along the President's route were prohibited from going to the terrace of their homes, and were told they had to shut their doors and windows when Clinton passed by. Activists floated black balloons and waved black flags wherever possible. No protests were allowed anywhere near the places Clinton was scheduled to visit.

(sources: Deccan Chronicle, 3/15, The Hindu, 3/19)

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