Paremos la guerra contra Iraq

* International Action Center, USA

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International ANSWER

International Action Center

Stop the war against Iraq

London, Rome, Madrid: Hundreds of thousands denounce Bush/Blair war drive

John Catalinotto*

30th September, 2002. IAC/CSCAweb (www.nodo50.org/csca)

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.

People 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 leadership.

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 Guevara.

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.


Another 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."