European Social Forum comes to London

by Democrat reporter

THE EUROPEAN Social Forum will be taking place in London from 15—17 October, with an welcome rally on the eveing of 14 October and ending in a solidarity demonstration in central London on the afternoon of 17th. The Connolly Assocoation, a number of leading Sinn Féin representatives and many others will be participating in the event.

The ESF is an international gathering of progressive social movements, trade unions, campaigning organisations, NGOs and many others. This year it takes place at Alexandra Palace and Bloomsbury, with hundreds of workshops and seminars, plus cultural events, including exhibitions, film showings, music, theatre and dance. Topics include anti-war, anti-racism, social and democratic rights, the environment and world justice and solidarity. >

Tens of thousands are expected to attend from across Europe and internationally. Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams will be among those addressing the welcome event hosted by London mayor Ken Livingstone in central London.

Other international speakers include Aleida Guevara, daughter of Che from Cuba, Algerian independence leader Ahmed Ben Bella, leading anti-debt writer Susan George, plus many, many others.

On the issue of Ireland, a number of key events are planned. As well as the opening rally, Gerry Adams will speak and take part in a question and answer session at a Friday afternoon seminar, ‘Lessons of Ireland’ at Alexandra Palace, which will be an imporant and unique opportunity to hear how the strategy for peace and Irish unity has developed in detail and the next steps, from one of the struggle’s most leading figures.

The development of the peace process and issues for the future will also be addressed in a round table seminar on Saturday afternoon, with Sinn Fein MEP Mary Lou McDonald, anti-poverty campaigner and Northern Ireland Unison representative Inez McCormac and Michael Finucane, son of the murdered solicitor Pat Finucane.

The issues of collusion, truth and justice will be discussed on Friday evening, where speakers include Paul O’Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre and representatives of campaigns including An Firinne (Truth) and Justice for the Forgotten. Michael Finucane will also speak about the issues of his father’s case and the issues around the inquiry.

Sectarian attacks and the rise of racist attacks will be discussed at a workshop on Saturday morning, where speakers include Short Strand residents representative and Belfast deputy mayor Joe O’Donnell and Jamal Iweida, the president of Belfast Islamic Centre.

The issue of civil liberties and anti-terror measures will be discussed at a seminar on Friday morning where speakers include human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce and others.

Other speakers during the ESF include Green Party representative Patricia McKenn and those involved in the anti-war and anti-globalisation movements in Ireland.

Films on aspects of the struggle for justice and equality in Ireland will also feature, and on Saturday night there will be an Irish Solidarity Night at Tommy Flynn’s, 203 Holloway Road, N19, from 9pm—2am. Reduced admission of £2 including food for ESF delegates.

For full details of events, venues and speakers see the ESF web site at

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2004-10-12 10:44:42.
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