30th September, 2002. IAC/CSCAweb
London, Rome, Madrid: Hundreds
of thousands denounce Bush/Blair war drive
The worldwide movement
to stop US-British aggression against Iraq took a leap forward
over the Sept. 28-29 weekend with massive demonstrations totaling
a half-million people in London, Rome and Madrid.
from all over Britain answered the call of the Stop the War Coalition
and the Muslim Association of Britain. It was endorsed by 12
national trade unions, numerous Muslim and anti-racist organizations,
members of Parliament and the mayor of London. They marched under
the slogans of "Don't Attack Iraq/Freedom for Palestine."
Eyewitnesses, writing their reports across the Internet, described
the London action as the biggest even UK anti-war demo, or at
least the biggest in 30 years. "It was a fantastically mixed
range of age, gender, religions and left/libertarian/peace groups,"
one wrote, taking almost six hours to walk three miles from the
Thames Embankment to Hyde Park via Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly.
Organizers estimated between 350,000 and 450,000 took part.
Scottish Labor Member of Parliament and long term anti-sanctions
campaigner George Galloway said Tony Blair would be watching
the demonstration in his five-star hotel in Blackpool and he
would "be turning several shades of green" Galloway
also said that Iraq and Iran are the only two Middle East countries
not controlled from Washington.
The purpose of the attack on Iraq was to get control of the
oil, he said, shouting, "No war for oil."
Despite the enormous importance of this action, the New
York Times of Sept. 29 and 30 gave no coverage at all to
the demonstration. Even the British press is underplaying it.
Yet Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has been a willing servant
of the Bush administration, faces a Labor Party conference next
week with large sections of his party in revolt against his pro-war
In Rome, as many as 100,000 people demonstrated Sept. 28,
many called out by the Refoundation Communist Party (PRC) led
by Fausto Bertinotti, who described this first major action against
the threatened war on Iraq as "only a beginning" An
article in the Sept. 29 issue of Il Manifesto said many in the
crowd carried the red flags of this party or the picture of Che
Other organizations were there too, including Greens and the
left elements in the Party of the Democratic Left, organizations
of Palestinians and Kurds. All demanded "No war on Iraq."
A speaker representing the British anti-war movement spoke
in Rome to show the international solidarity between the two
movements in European countries whose government heads -Blair
and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi- support U.S. aggressive
policies in the Middle East.
such leader is José María Aznar in Spain. And there
too was the struggle sharp. Carlos Varea of the Spanish Campaign
for Lifting the Sanctions on Iraq WW that 30-50,000 people demonstrated
in Madrid Sept. 29 calling for "No war on Iraq." Some
54 organizations, including trade unions, social organizations,
political parties (the United Left and others), religious and
community groups, feminist and youth organizations and local
groups, and two cultural/intellectual's platforms, said Varea.
The Madrid meeting ended with speakers reading messages from
former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and British MP George
Galloway, and an announcement that the movement in Spain is preparing
a new demonstration for Oct. 26.
Representatives of the German peace movement met in Kassel
over the same weekend and decided to hold local and regional
anti-war demonstrations throughout Germany on Oct. 26 in solidarity
with the demonstrations called for Washington and San Francisco.
This enormous outpouring in Europe has already greatly encouraged
activists in the U.S. anti-war movement. Sara Flounders of the
International Action Center said she expected that "as news
of these demonstrations reaches the public in the United States,
they will realize that it is the Bush administration that is
isolated, and not those millions people in the U.S. who want
no part of a war on Iraq."