Protests greeted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Rome.
Ahmadinejad arrived in Rome Tuesday for the World Food Summit of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
The pope and senior Italian leaders declined to meet with Ahmadinejad, who on the eve of his trip renewed calls for Israel’s destruction. The president of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies also cancelled a meeting planned for next week with the Iranian ambassador.
Various protests took place around the city, including a march by Roman Jews through the city center. The biggest planned protest was a “Free Iran” sit-in Tuesday night at Rome’s City Hall, organized by a local newspaper and backed by the Roman Jewish community and Mayor Gianni Alemanno.
Organizers said Ahmadinejad’s presence at a summit “addressing the tragedy of hunger in the world symbolizes the devastating contradiction between the violence of totalitarian governments and their demagogic statements.”
The World Jewish Congress on Monday deplored Ahmadinejad’s participation in the summit.