Monday, April 20, 2009

Diplomats walk out of the summit and protesters heckle Iran's leader Ahmadinejad

Diplomats have walked out of a speech by the Iranian president at a UN anti-racism conference after he described Israel as a "racist government".

Two protesters, wearing colored wigs, briefly disrupted the beginning of the speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but he continued speaking.

Shortly afterward a stream of Western delegates walked out when he attacked the creation of the state of Israel.

France, which had warned of a walkout, described it as "hate speech".

Some of those who stayed clapped as Mr Ahmadinejad continued his speech.

The walkout is a public relations disaster for the United Nations, which had hoped the conference would be a shining example of what the UN is supposed to do best - uniting to combat injustice in the world, says the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva.

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