Iraq War: Global opposition persists

IssueApril 2006
News by Andrew Frisicano

On the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, protesters coordinated events around the globe to demonstrate their continued opposition.

In London, anti-war demonstrators, estimated at between 15 000 and 100,000 (Met and STWC numbers, respectively), marched from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square to condemn the war and Britain's continued involvement, and to call for the withdrawal of British troops. Activists in Glasgow, Newcastle and Dublin also held events raising awareness about the costs and failures of the war.

Similar demonstrations were held across Europe, including in Brussels, where an estimated 5,000 marched (pictured).

Targeting the recruiters

Encouragingly, more than five hundred protests were scheduled to take place in the United States, many including nonviolent actions at recruitment centres and war related corporate buildings.

In Washington DC a group stormed the lobbies of Halliburton, Bechtel and Carlyle reading out the names of dead from the first day of the war. Students at Boston's Northeastern University protested by chalking the pavement in front of the campus recruiting centre and blocking its entrance with caution tape, while across town at Boston College, students raised awareness about the recruitment of graduates by arms companies - which include Raytheon, the fifth largest weapons manufacturer in the world - as well as the free access given to military organisations on campus. At the Pentagon more than fifty people were arrested when they scaled a perimeter fence after, perhaps unsurprisingly, being refused entry to meet Donald Rumsfeld.

Across the US, individuals participated in nonviolent action at senatorial and congressional offices, leading to several arrests and fines.

Further protests

As PN went to press, organisers were hoping that hundreds of antiwar campaigners would risk arrest by gathering outside Parliament on 2 April for an “unauthorised” reading of the names of 1000 Iraqis who have died as a result of the last three years of war and occupation.

In response to the lack of coverage of the 18 March demonstrations, Stop the War Coalition have called a lunchtime protest for 4 April at the BBC's Broadcasting House in London, and are encouraging local groups to hold similar protests at regional BBC offices.