Friday, February 14
10 million join world protest rallies
From Africa to Antarctica, people prepare to march for peace
John Vidal, The Guardian, February 13, 2003
Up to 10 million people on five continents are expected to demonstrate against the probable war in Iraq on Saturday, in some of the largest peace marches ever known.
Yesterday, up to 400 cities in 60 countries, from Antarctica to Pacific islands, confirmed that peace rallies, vigils and marches would take place. Of all major countries, only China is absent from the growing list which includes more than 300 cities in Europe and north America, 50 in Asia and Latin America, 10 in Africa and 20 in Australia and Oceania.
Many countries will witness the largest demonstrations against war they have ever seen. The majority will be small but 500,000 people are expected in London and Barcelona, and more than 100,000 in Rome, Paris, Berlin and other European capitals. In the US, organisers were yesterday anticipating 200,000 marching in New York if permission is given. A further 100,000 are expected to march in 140 other American cities.
What is extraordinary, say the organisers, is the depth and breadth of opposition that the US and Britain are meeting across the world before a war has even started.
"This is unprecedented. Demonstrations only got this large againstthe Vietnam war at the height of the conflict, years after it started," said a spokesman for Answer, a coalition of US peace groups which helped organise a march of 200,000 people last month in Washington. [...]