“Some 100,000 activists of all stripes converged on this steamy Amazon city Tuesday, opening the World Social Forum with a rambunctious march to the beat of samba drums.
An afternoon jungle downpour could not drown the spirits of those who came from all corners of the globe to participate: Socialists, environmentalists, anarchists, Indians, communists and even a fellow dressed as a pirate.
The massive meeting _ coming amid the worst global economic crisis in decades _ was held for the first time in the Amazon region, an especially poignant fact for attendees.
‘During a financial crisis, the environment is the first thing to be pushed off the agenda of most governments,’ said Andrew Riplinger, 22, of Chicago. ‘I think having the social forum here in Belem, surrounded by the rain forest _ it’s keeping environmentalism on the table.’
The streets of Belem were overflowed _ by both water and the activists, who came wearing homemade shirts extolling every social cause under the sun. Massive banners were unfurled, trumpets blared a chaotic chorus as Indians from across the Amazon performed traditional dances, barefoot, bodies ornately painted and heads adorned with the feathers of exotic birds.”
The rest is here.
More on the WSF 2009 here.