Baghdad Bombings Fuel Fourth Day of Global Protests; US Vets Say No to War
March 23, 2003, Agence France Presse
US veterans were planning to march on American war memorials
with images of US bombs pounding Baghdad fuelling a fourth
day of global protests against the war of Iraq.
More than a million people protested across Europe and North
America on Saturday, and although the crowd numbers have
fallen from earlier demonstrations, passions continued to
London Mayor Ken Livingstone claimed Saturday's march in the
British capital was "the largest demonstration against a war
that is in progress in British history."
And MP Alice Mahon said US President George W. Bush and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair "have managed to
radicalise a whole generation. This peace movement is
growing hour by hour."
Police said more than 40,000 Australians took part Sunday in
a fourth day of protests in Sydney, Adelaide and the capital
Canberra to denounce Prime Minister John Howard's decision
to commit some 2,000 troops to the US-led force.
About 100 families also demonstrated in Melbourne at a rally
dubbed "Babies Against Bombs" to highlight the threat to
children posed by the war.
Many of the protests which have flared since Thursday's
launch of the war to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein have
been led by young people, skipping school by their thousands
in support of Iraqi children.
"Tony Blair should listen to his people rather to his best
friend Bush," said 14-year-old Beatrice Morris in London.
"America is a military-based country and has the idea that
it's more powerful than the rest of the world."
The Sydney protest began after a prayer service led by the
city's Anglican Dean Phillip Jensen who told the
congregation that war was a foretaste of hell -- "hellish in
its horror and destruction ... and hellish in its
Meanwhile in the United States, Veterans Against Iraq War,
who launched their three-day "Operation Dire Distress" with
a conference in Washington on Saturday, were planning a
major demonstration in the capital on Sunday.
"While others pontificate and theorise about war, veterans
know about its realities," the group said in a statement.
"The present administration is led by men and women who
chose not to go into the military and today have little
understanding of war and no comprehension of its
consequences," it said.
War vets are planning to assemble at Constitution Gardens on
Mall at midday, and will hold a solemn procession to
Vietnam, Korea, World War II memorials, as well as march to
the Veterans Administration and White House with rally on
The war has also fuelled widespread anger among Muslim
countries who see it as a "crusade" by Bush against Islam.
More than 100,000 people took to the streets of the eastern
Pakistani city of Lahore Sunday demanding an immediate end
to the war.
Amid chants of "Allah-o-Akbar" (God is great), protesters
carried banners reading "Stop spilling blood, no to US
terrorism" and "Iraqi Muslims, we are with you."
It was the first large-scale demonstration against the
invasion since US and British bombs and cruise missiles
began raining down on Iraq at dawn Thursday.
More than 1,500 Indonesians also staged noisy but peaceful
anti-war rallies in Jakarta including in front of the
missions of the United States, Britain and Australia.
A rally in front of the tightly guarded US embassy lasted
for some three hours ended with the burning of an effigy of
Bush and the reading of a joint statement demanding an
immediate halt to the war.
There were also major demonstrations in the southern
Jordanian town of Maan, an Islamist stronghold, on Sunday,
denouncing the US-led military action.
"Almost all the students of Al-Hussein University in Maan
protested on campus in a show of support for Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein," one witness told AFP. The university has
4,000 students on its roll.
Even the world of sport was not immune, with up to 1,000
anti-war protestors rallying outside the Wanderers Stadium
in Johannesburg while the Cricket World Cup final between
Australia and India was under way.
"We hope Australia loses the World Cup because (Prime
Minister) John Howard supports the war in Iraq," Anti-War
Coalition spokesman Trevor Ngwane told AFP.
In the United States, some of the anger was reserved for the
major television networks accused by demonstrators of
dumbing down the realities of war to make it one long video
One marcher outside the White House on Saturday, Feza Baydur
of Turkey, carried a sign reading: "CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC -
Weapons of Mass Deception."
While between 15,000 and 20,000 people picketed the CNN
studios in Los Angeles while others at the Atlanta
headquarters protested the cable network's coverage of the
war for being biased toward the United States, organisers
"They make this look like a John Wayne movie," said
protester Elvis Woods. "You watch CNN and all you get are
explosions and video of tanks and guns. Nobody questions
whether this is right or not."