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Bush's Thompson booed at AIDS conference

'I understand the yelling and screaming'

One placard reads,
One placard reads, "Where is the $10 billion? Fund the fund," as protestors heckle U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson in Barcelona.  

From Sanjay Gupta
CNN Medical Correspondent

BARCELONA, Spain (CNN) -- Protesters at the AIDS conference here Tuesday booed United States Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson off the stage.

Thompson was scheduled to give a speech about the U.S. contribution to the global fight against AIDS at the 14th international AIDS conference.

Shortly after he arrived at the podium, at least 100 protesters carrying signs and megaphones rushed the stage and began chanting, "No more lies."

The placards the protesters carried read, "Bush and Thompson Wanted: For the murder and neglect of PWAs" -- persons with AIDS.

CNN's Sanjay Gupta says activists protested Secretary Tommy Thompson when he rose to speak at the AIDS conference in Barcelona, Spain (July 9)

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The secretary stood and watched the protest for 15 minutes and then did manage to finish an inaudible 10-minute speech before he left the podium.

Thompson said, "I understand the yelling and screaming. They (the activists) would serve their cause much better if they would try and get other countries to contribute to the Global Fund (the United Nations Global Fund to fight AIDS) like the United States."

Protesters said Thompson continues to "make hollow arguments" that the United States is the largest contributor to the Global Fund, said Kim Nichols, an activist.

Protesters say Norway contributes 25 times as much per citizen, Sweden seven times and Rwanda 10 times as much (as a percentage of gross domestic product) as the United States does.

"I understand that people are passionate about this and I understand that they want to blame the United States, but the United States under President Bush in the last 18 months has doubled the amount of resources to the Global Fund."




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