The Guardian March 26, 2003


The world says NO

Since the massive bombardment of Iraq commenced on Thursday last week, 
millions of people around the world have taken to the streets to stop the 
war. Never before have so many people from so many countries united in such 
strong opposition to a war. In total disregard of the will of the people, 
and in total disregard for the thousands or possibly hundreds of thousands 
of innocent victims, the US and British Governments with their Australian 
lackey in tow, went ahead with their murderous, illegal and morally 
unjustifiable war on the people of Iraq.

In Australia hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in 
mass actions.

Anti-war marches in Perth climaxed last Saturday with 20,000 people 
rallying and marching through the city streets. On the day the war began 
6000 protested in Forrest Place and marched to the UN Consulate, blocking 
St George's Terrace.

More than 2000 Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) 
members downed tools and joined the action. Unions WA Assistant Secretary 
Dave Robinson called on the union movement to maintain the pressure and 
drive the Howard Government from office.

Maritime Union of Australia State Secretary Wally Prichard said: "Bush says 
he has Saddam in his sights. We have Howard in our sights. We will have 
regime change."

Greens MLC Dee Margetts said the Greens had walked out of Parliament at the 
news of the war. "The strategy of Bush, Blair and Howard will backfire", 
she said.

Other speakers in Perth came from the Uniting Church and the No War 
Alliance.

In Sydney 70,000 to 100,000 people marched from Belmore Park to The Domain 
on the Sunday to deliver another powerful message to the Howard Government 
to "Stop the War on Iraq, Bring the Troops Home" and "Howard's War  
Bloody Outrage"

As in other centres, there was a wide cross-section of the community, with 
trade union, church, ethnic, student, political and other groups 
participating. Many of the recently formed local peace groups took part as 
well as families and other individuals and even a few pets.

Thousands of unionists rallied and marched against the war in Melbourne on 
Friday, March 21. The union anti-war rally, organised by the Victorian 
Trades Hall Council, demanded an end to the war in Iraq and called on the 
Howard Government to bring the troops home.

The Victorian Trades Hall Council is calling on union members to attend the 
up-coming anti-war actions, including a day of action against the war on 
Thursday, March 27, and a rally on Saturday March 29 at the State Library.

There are meetings of the Workers Against War on Wednesday nights at 6.30pm 
at the VTHC.

Seasoned peace advocates and a growing core of new activists have had a 
hectic week in Adelaide including marches, rallies and candlelit vigils in 
several public parks and beaches.

Five hundred people gathered on the steps of parliament house on the day 
the aggression was announced and a thousand gathered there again at 5pm on 
the day of the first bombing and the invasion.

Then on Sunday over 15,000 people crowded into Victoria Square before 
marching on the State Parliament. FA18 fighter jets "entertaining" 
spectators at the Clipsal 500 car race on the other side of the city added 
some rather frightening background shrieks to the event.

Mike Khazam of the NOWAR coalition that organised the rally surely echoed 
the upbeat mood of the people with his comments: "Do not despair. Do not be 
despondent. We won't stop and we won't forgive our government!"

Yasmine Ahmed of the Islamic Foundation emphasised the potential political 
power of movements like the one that has sprung up in opposition to the war 
in Iraq. "The Vietnam War was stopped in the streets and we'll make sure 
this one will be, too."

In Brisbane at the commencement of the attack on Iraq more than 6000 
people, with a good trade union presence, gathered in King George's Square 
and on Saturday another 6000-plus crowd protested.

There were protests also when the war began and with follow up actions on 
the weekend in Darwin, Hobart, Geelong, Wollongong, Newcastle and in cities 
and country towns around the country.

The actions are continuing. The Books not Bombs Coalition Against War have 
organised another national student strike for this Wednesday, March 26. 
Palm Sunday, April 13, is shaping up to be another big day of Australia-
wide actions.

International

In Germany, more than 80,000 school children, many with their faces painted 
with "No War" and peace signs, protested in the capital Berlin and the 
cities of Stuttgart, Cologne, Munich and Hanover.

More than 60,000 people took the streets in Austria with 30,000 marching 
through Vienna.

Swiss police attacked protesters who marched on the US diplomatic mission 
in Geneva. Spanish police in riot gear fired rubber bullets at protesters 
gathered in central Madrid in protest at Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's 
support for the US attack on Iraq.

Anti-war demonstrations took place in more than 30 other cities across 
France.

In Britain, around one million rallied around the country demanding an end 
to the bloodshed in Iraq. Police used force against students on a sit-down 
strike in Parliament Square.

In New York City, 300,000 people of all ages and from all walks of life 
protested, with other actions taking place in cities across the USA. 
Protests are continuing in San Francisco in the face of violent attacks and 
arrests by police.

More than 100,000 people, many of them high school and university students, 
marched on the US Embassy in Athens on the weekend, in the first of two 
mass demonstrations organised by labour activists, students and teacher 
unions.

In Bangladesh there was a nationwide strike against the US war. People from 
all sections of society came onto the streets to voice their opposition to 
the war. The capital, Dhaka, came to a standstill.

There was a mass protest march on the US Embassy in New Delhi. Thousands of 
workers, teachers, artists, and people from all walks of life in India 
joined the protest. Though blocked by a police cordon, 22 protestors 
slipped behind police lines and chained themselves to the highly fortified 
Embassy fence.

All speakers condemned the deadly bombardment and demanded that the Indian 
Government also condemn the attack.

In Afghanistan around 1000 people took to the streets to protests against 
the war, chanting slogans against the US and its supporters.

There were also protests in Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Japan (against 
US bases), Ireland, Pakistan, Indonesia, The Netherlands (80,000), 
Malaysia, across the Middle East and elsewhere.

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