Anti-war feeling mounts around the world

IssueDecember 2002 - February 2003
News by Lindsay Barnes

Hundreds of thousands of people have marched in peaceful demonstrations around the globe in the past few weeks, joining the growing protest against the US's impending war on Iraq.

More than 300,000 people took to the streets in the United States on 26 October in a day of national protest bolstered by simultaneous demonstrations in many other countries.

Thousands of people took part in 150 different protests in Britain on 31 October and an estimated 400,000 people from across Europe demonstrated in Florence on 9 November. Smaller protests have been held outside the US embassy in Manila, the Philippines, and outside the Polish Embassy in Baghdad, as well as in Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, Rome, Turkey and Ecuador.

US national protest

In what has been billed as the biggest anti-war protest in the US since the demonstrations against the Vietnam war in the 1970s, 200,000 people marched in Washington and 100,000 in San Francisco on 26 October. Tens of thousands protested in other cities across the States.

”By organising public opinion we can build a potent political mass movement that can be decisive in the next few months. Congress did not end the war in Vietnam but the people's movement did and once again it is up to the people to stop this war,” said Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER).

In Germany, 30,000 protesters marched in Berlin, and similar protests were held in Heidelberg

Greek feminists take to the streets during an Athens anti-war protest.

and Freiberg. Thousands rallied in the streets in Rotterdam and Amsterdam in The Netherlands, while Network Against War held protests in the Swedish cities of Gothenburg, Malmo and Stockholm.

Demonstrations were held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Tokyo, Japan. In Baghdad, US and British peace activists protested in front of the Polish Embassy, which houses the US interests section.

Halloween action

Thousands of protesters joined the Stop the War Coalition's Halloween day of action across Britain on 31 October. This followed a “No war on Iraq” demonstration attended by an estimated 200,000-400,000 people in central London on 28 September.

In London, 5,000 people gathered in and around Parliament Square in the evening rush hour on 31 October and blocked the traffic in Whitehall. Other action included marches to and “citizens' inspections” of, military bases, occupations (including the halting of proceedings at the Welsh Assembly) and protests on campus at dozens of universities and colleges.

In central Seoul, South Korea, on 10 November about 1,000 protesters voiced their opposition to the US policy on Iraq and possible military action.