London Mayor hits out at possible war on Iraq
By Alfred Lee
STRAITS TIMES EUROPE BUREAU
September 30, 2002
LONDON - An astonishing attack by London Mayor Ken
Livingstone on possible military strikes against Iraq
climaxed the biggest anti-war demonstration ever seen
'Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi children,
women and men will be killed or injured if our country
and the US attack Iraq,' Mr Livingstone said at Hyde
Park, where the rally ended after passing central
'We must not let this war happen, with or without UN
approval. It is not about removing Saddam Hussein from
power. America wants war against Iraq to seize control
of the oil fields, the second largest in the Middle
Mr Livingstone also told the crowd that British Prime
Minister Tony Blair's so-called dossier of proof
against Mr Saddam contained no proof that he has
chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
Protesters carried placards that branded US President
George W. Bush and Mr Blair as 'war mongers'.
Others read: 'Don't Attack Iraq', 'Not in my name' and
'Don't be bullied by Bush'.
Organisers said about 400,000 people took part, but
Scotland Yard police said the number was 150,000.
The fierce, public criticism by the elected leader of
Britain's capital city will shock Washington.
Though Mr Bush has the full support of Mr Blair for an
attack on Mr Saddam, even without UN approval, there
are doubts whether the British public supports the
If opinion polls are an indication, the answer is no.
The Sunday Times reported that support for military
action against Iraq had slipped in the past two weeks
from 38 to only 33 per cent.
The survey also showed that the Bush administration's
hardline approach was causing concern in Britain and
that people were sceptical about Mr Blair's dossier of
proof for action against Iraq.
Mr Blair was dismayed that Britain's powerful Muslim
Council played a major role in organising Saturday's
anti-war protest and that the Archbishop of Canterbury
designate Rowan Williams supported the demonstration.
Mr Blair has decided to call a 'faith summit' at No.
10 Downing Street, inviting Dr Williams, Muslim
representatives and 20 other religious leaders to hear
why military action should be taken.