Ahmadinejad Speech Sparks UN Walkout

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2009 12:31 PM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, delivers his speech in front of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Delegates stormed out of the United Nations conference on racism today in Geneva, protesting a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the New York Times reports. The Iranian president used his speech to criticize Israel for leaving “an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering,” in an effort to “establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine.”

At the start of the speech, two protesters wearing colored wigs shouted, “Racist!” before being removed by security. Delegates from France, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, and Australia walked out, returning only after Ahmadinejad finished his 30-minute talk. The walkout recalled the UN’s 2001 racism conference, which saw US and Israeli delegates walk out over criticism. Neither country is attending this conference.