The wrong host

Published: Monday 15 November 2004

-- European Social Forum London

Between October 14 and 17, around 20,000 activists from all over the world gathered in London, uk to defend the rights of workers and minorities, promote efforts to protect the environment and protest against the us -led war in Iraq. The occasion was the European Social Forum (esf). The event was, however, a huge disappointment. "We aren't seeing the unemployed, nor immigrants, in attendance," Brazilian activist Anselmo Schweltzner told a seminar that concluded esf. "It should never have taken place in London because it is too expensive. It is a shame," added Schweltzner.

The event was estimated to have cost us $18 million, almost half of which was met by London's city assembly. Entry to the esf cost us $36 for those unemployed and us $54 pounds for a worker, if they paid in advance. "How can someone unemployed afford the entrance cost?" questioned Mathilde Unger, a leading figure for Agir, a French pressure group supporting the jobless. She added: "How can someone vulnerable, obliged in this country to have several jobs in order to survive, find the time to participate in debates?

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