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Leaders and Protesters Alike Converge on UN Summit

Monday, September 22, 2008

Debate begins this week among world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly. And many arguments will overflow into the streets of New York. Foreign dignitaries will address audiences across the city, and New Yorkers will come out to make their own voices heard as well. WNYC’s Marianne McCune reports.

REPORTER: This year, no New York institution outside the UN has invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to speak. His appearance last year at Columbia University riled New Yorkers for weeks. Still, there are plenty of protests planned. An anti-Iran rally scheduled for later today was advertised in the New York Times, and on Wednesday, doctors and medical students in white coats plan a vigil for two AIDS doctors who’ve been detained in Iran.

The presidents of Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, and Colombia have each been invited to speak at universities and other venues – but several have canceled their visits because of arguments between Bolivia and the United States. Only President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia – a favorite of the Bush administration – is sure to be present. He has speaking engagements all over town and will join a long list of leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative beginning Wednesday. The vice president of Cuba is scheduled to speak in Harlem tonight. For WNYC, I’m Marianne McCune.

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