(fwd) Groundswell of dissent encircles the globe

2003-02-16

Richard Moore

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From: "Brit Eckhart" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw: Groundswell of Dissent Encircles the Globe
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2003 22:48:46 -0500


-----Original Message-----
From: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••>
Date: Saturday, February 15, 2003 8:15 PM
Subject: Groundswell of Dissent Encircles the Globe


The Independent (UK)
February 16, 2003


Groundswell of dissent encircles the globe

From Auckland to Amsterdam, from Rio to Rome,
millions of citizens poured on to the streets
to make their voices heard By David Randall in
London, Peter Popham in Rome and Ruth Elkins
in Berlin

Millions of people around the world poured on to the
streets of their towns and cities yesterday to protest
against the prospect of a US-led war on Iraq.

The worldwide tidal wave of protest began in New
Zealand and rolled around the globe, gathering, as it
went, momentum, enthusiasm and a sense of being part of
a universal movement. The largest turnout was in Rome,
where organisers claimed an attendance of three
million. By the end of the weekend, demonstrations will
have been held in more than 600 places from Auckland to
Iceland, and San Francisco to South Korea.

In Auckland, marchers cheered as a plane flew overhead
trailing a giant banner which read: "No War, Peace
Now". In Australia, where 150,000 had demonstrated in
Melbourne the day before, 16,000 activists marched in
Canberra, 10,000 in Perth, and 15,000 in Newcastle,
north of Sydney.

There were further marches in Indonesia, Malaysia,
Thailand, India, East Timor, Pakistan, Taipei, Hong
Kong, Kazakhstan, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.
Some of those involved were experienced veterans of
protest, but many were taking their first uncertain
steps on a protest march. Mariko Aoyama, who described
herself as a Tokyo housewife, said: "What the United
States is doing now is wrong. We are on the brink of
World War Three."

The only trouble was in Athens, where several hundred
anarchist protesters broke away from the tens of
thousands on the main rally, smashed windows, threw a
gasoline bomb at a news office and overturned a car.
Riot police cordoned off the city's US embassy.

In South Africa, thousands marched in Cape Town and
Johannesburg, where Ivan Abrahams, a Methodist
minister, said: "We are saying to Bush, you are not the
saviour of the world, and we will not bow down to you."

In the Middle East the protests were more muted, but
even so, in Damascus 200,000 marched through the
streets. In Baghdad, the crowds were strongly
encouraged by the extensive military presence around
the demonstration. "At times the fervour was almost
messianic: as if in a kind of ritualistic tribal
worship," Independent on Sunday reporter James McGowan
observed.

Europe's demonstrations began in sub-zero temperatures
in Russia and in Kiev in the Ukraine, and spread, via
Berlin, to dozens of cities across the continent,
including Amsterdam, Budapest, Lyon, Marseilles, Sofia,
Brussels, Stuttgart, Toulouse, Thessaloniki, Warsaw,
Bern, Paris and Copenhagen.

In Mostar, Bosnia, Muslims and Croats united for an
anti-war protest, the first such cross-community action
in seven years in a place where ethnic divisions still
remain strong. And in Cyprus, Turks and Greeks marched
together, briefly blocking a runway at a British
airbase. In Tel Aviv, too, usual conflicts were
forgotten as Israelis and Palestinians marched side by
side against a war.

In Rome, a vast, dazzlingly colourful tide of people
estimated by the organisers to number three million
swamped the city yesterday afternoon, practically
encircling the ancient heart and uniting monks and
nuns, communists and anarchists and hundreds of
thousands of ordinary Italians in protest against the
policies of Bush and Blair.

"Stop the war" read a huge banner on the stage at
march's conclusion on Piazza San Giovanni above a blow-
up of Picasso's Guernica. Air-raid sirens wailed above
Rome's streets in a reminder of the war fears agitating
this country which today has a Muslim population
approaching one million.

One reason for the massive numbers was the strong
support given by the Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi,
to the American line. But the Vatican's outspoken
opposition to the war has sent tremors through
Berlusconi's Forza Italia party.

In Berlin, the biggest peace demonstration seen by
Germany for 20 years brought much of the capital to a
standstill. More than 350,000 people - more than three
times as many as organisers had expected - took part in
an event which culminated in a mass rally at Berlin's
victory column, near the Brandenburg Gate.

In France up to 400,000 people, many carrying posters
denouncing US President Bush as a "warmonger" and
chanting anti-American slogans, marched through Paris
and 50 other cities. Gerald Lenoir, 41, of Berkley,
California, said he came to Paris, where 100,000
marched, specifically to demonstrate alongside the
French. "I am here to protest my government's
aggression against Iraq," he said. "Iraq does not pose
a security threat to the States and there are no links
with al-Qa'ida."

As night fell in London, no fewer than 15 marches were
underway in Brazil, nearly a million were demonstrating
in Madrid, and an expected 100,000-plus were beginning
to assemble in New York. Also in Politics Groundswell
of dissent encircles the globe War spells disaster for
Iraqis, UN warns US offers Turkey billions to aid
invasion On a day of high drama, a quiet Swede may just
have turned back the tide of war Vintage performance
from an international bureaucrat

© 2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

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