Mar 25, 2004

Anti-war Demo March 20th 2004

One year after the slaughter began, it continues unabashed. Now more US soldiers have been killed since the war ‘ended’ than during the official war itself. The mounting civilian death toll is horrific beyond belief.

There’s been no WMDs, the surveillance scandals are hounding Blair and Bush looks like he may even go the way of his father and fail to get re-elected. One thing is clear, the mobilisations against the war around the world have not only prevented further conflicts but have added to the pain felt by Bush and Blair, and now we must make it tell.

At the World Social Forum in Mumbai in January, Globalise Resistance was one of the groups that put forward the call for international action against the US / UK occupation of Iraq. The Assembly of the Social Movements in Mumbai issued a call for global protest to mark the first anniversary of the onset of war, Saturday 20 March.

Over 50 countries organised action on that day, an echo of 15 February last year which saw the biggest single day of protest this planet as experienced.



In London the day got off to a brilliant start when two Greenpeace activists climbed Big Ben and unfolded a banner which read ‘Time for Truth’. Later people gathered in Hyde Park to march to Trafalgar Square. Despite the gloomy, windy weather the mood was upbeat -lots of puppets, colourful hand made placards, costumes and rainbow peace flags fluttering in the wind.. Many people carrying banners saying ‘Blair out ‘ and ‘Bliar ‘. As usual the police and media ridiculously underestimated the numbers, but it was definitely 80 thousand plus, since Trafalgar square (which holds 80,000) was full. At the rally black balloons were let off and a minute silence was held in remembrance of those who have died.

Globalise Resistance had a new banner for the occasion which read ‘EL PUEBLO UNIDO JAMAS SERA VENCIDO’ (THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED) to show our solidarity with the people of Spain, who have paid brutally for Bush and Blair ‘s war on terror. This slogan was chanted on the streets of Madrid the day before the Popular Party were ousted by the Spanish electorate. The new Socialist Party Government have pledged to remove all Spanish troops from Iraq by June.

This Global Day of action was called by the American anti war movement, and was enthusiastically endorsed at the World Social Forum in Mumbai -demos took place in 300 cities across the world including Baghdad. 50,000 marched in San Francisco, 30,000 in Tokyo, 1000 in Johannesburg, 3000 in Sydney and 1000 people marched to Bush ‘s ranch in Crawford Texas. Most inspiring is that 100 thousand marched in New York City.

A mere 80 thousand in London could be seen as a come down after the heady days of Feb 15th . Numbers were significantly down across the world, but it is to be expected that the anti war movement will have it ‘s highs and lows. Looking around the demo on Saturday it is clear that the movement is still attracting a cross section of people. It would be interesting to know whether any of these people are new to the movement, people who took Tony Blair ‘s statements about WMD at face value, and now feel cheated and angry.

How do we keep the momentum up ? It isn ‘t always easy to convince people that they need to keep turning up to these demonstrations. However, Saturday showed that we are managing it. The anti Vietnam movement never had demos of the size we ‘ve had but managed to keep going for many years, and was ultimately triumphant. The recent demos have clearly inspired protest in the Arab world, and helped the movement spread. If nothing else, it is important to show the Iraqi people we have not forgotten them.

One year after the invasion of Iraq people are still angry enough to give up their Saturday afternoon and come out onto the streets to show their opposition to the occupation. Proof that the anti war movement has not gone away -we should be proud of that.

Nikki Hardwick


Algeria - Algiers

Argentina - Buenos Airies

Australia - Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne and Syndey

Austria - Vienna

Bangladesh - Dhaka

Brazil - Soa Paulo

Belguim - Brussels

Canada - Montreal and Vancouver

Catalonia - Barcelona

Chile - Santiago

Czech - Republic Prague

Denmark - Copenhagen

Egypt - Cairo

England - London

Finland - Helsinki

France - Paris

Germany - Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf and Ramstein

Greece - Athens

Hungary - Budapest

Iceland - Reykjavik

Indonesia - Jakarta

Iraq - Baghdad

Iran - Teheran

Italy - Rome

Japan - Tokyo

Jordan - Amman

Mexico - Mexico City

Morocco - Cazablanca

The Netherlands - Amsterdam

New Zealand - Christchurch and Wellington

Norway - Oslo

Poland - Warsaw

Pakistan - Karachi

Palestine - Ramallah and Gaza

Portugal - Portu and Lisbon

Scotland - Glasgow

Senegal - Dakar

South Africa - Johannesburg

South Korea - Seoul

Spain - Madrid, Seville and Tarragon

Sudan - Khartoum

Sweden - Stockholm, Gothenburg and Halmsted,

Syria - Damascus and Aleppo

Tasmania - Hobart

Thailand - Bangkok

Turkey - Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Trabzon

Yemen - Sana



  • Print
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • PDF
  • RSS
  • Twitter

Comments are closed.