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Thursday, June 10, 1999 Published at 00:04 GMT 01:04 UK

World: South Asia

Indian farmers protest in Geneva

Several hundred farmers from the southern Indian state of Karnataka have demonstrated outside the World Trade Organisation in Geneva as part of a Europe-wide protest against free trade and globalisation.

The farmers accused multi-national companies of recolonising rural India by flooding the market with cheap imports, forcing prices down and forcing farmers off the land. The protestors urged India to withdraw from the WTO but correspondents say this is unrealistic as the Indian government supports free trade.

Over the next few days the farmers will stage protests outside two Swiss multi-nationals -- Nestle and Novartis -- to express their concern about the company's production of genetically modified organisms .

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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