Special Correspondent

Slogans raised against the "farcical" manner of the trial

KOLKATA: Close to a lakh people took part in a procession organised by the ruling Left Front here on Thursday in protest against the death sentence given to deposed Iraq President Saddam Hussein. It marked the culmination of a series of protests and demonstrations across West Bengal against the sentence.

The procession wound its way through the streets from Park Circus to Deshbandhu Park, about five km away.

Slogans were raised against the "farcical" manner of the trial. Posters critical of U.S. President George Bush's invasion of Iraq could be seen. Later, senior Left leaders addressed the protesters. A banner demanding the withdrawal of the British and U.S. forces from Iraq formed the backdrop at the podium.

Left Front committee chairman Biman Bose condemned the U.S. imperialist designs, its invasion of Iraq and abetment to Israel in the recent bombings in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Referring to the recent killings of innocent women and children by the Israeli forces in Lebanon and the Gaza strip, he said: "Is protesting against such atrocities an offence? Not doing so was an offence. Are you for or against the people, are for you or against democracy? We [Left Front] are for the people, for democracy, against imperialism and imperialistic designs,", he remarked.