NATIONAL

Anti-war rally in Kolkata

Kolkata March 30. Nineteen Left parties in West Bengal today staged a rally in Kolkata to protest the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

The Left Front chairman, Biman Bose, flagged off the procession by releasing a bunch of balloons in the presence of the CPI (M), the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc leaders.

The protesters, whose number was estimated to be around one lakh, shouted anti-war slogans, burnt effigies of the U.S. President, George W. Bush, and the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

The participants, carrying placards and tableaux, sang peace songs and shouted slogans against the ``barbaric attack on humanity.''

``How many lives to a gallon?'' cried a placard.

The rally's star attraction was the former Chief Minister and veteran Marxist leader, Jyoti Basu, though he left after walking a few steps.

The Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, also walked along with the processionists. Many of his Cabinet colleagues, leftist MPs, MLAs and political party activists also took part in the procession.

Famous personalities, including film-maker Mrinal Sen, singer-actress Ruma Guha Thakurta, theatre personalities Sova Sen, Bibhas Chakraborty, mime exponent Jogesh Dutta and magician P. C. Sorcar also participated. — PTI

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