350,000 in London march to oppose war on Iraq

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Sep 28 12:10:36 MDT 2002

(Posted to apst by Alex Nichols)

The organiser's of today's London march against War on Iraq were
claiming 400,000 participated in the event this afternoon ( Saturday
28th September)

This figure was apparently reported on C.N.N. Whatever the precise
figure, it was certainly huge. It began a mile and a half away at the
Embankment at 12.30 and marchers were still streaming towards Hyde Park
at 5.00 as I left, having already heard the main speakers.

As Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London said: " It would be a sad
commentary on the values of the people of Britain if we hadn't equalled
the Countryside Alliances march in support of ripping up foxes."

He denounced the proposed war as motivated by U.S. neo-colonialism and
the desire for Oil.

With the mass circulation "Daily Mirror" carrying a double page spread
by John Pilger calling for support for the march, it wasn't suprising
that hundreds of thousands showed up.

There was also a strong showing from what NATFHE General secretary Paul
Mackney described as the "awkward squad" of new trade union leaders, who
are "prepared to listen to what their members have to say to them."

Bob Crow of RMT, Mick Rix of Aslef, Mark Serwotka of the PCS, Billy
Hayes of the CWU, the deputy General Secretary of the T&GWU all were
present and were unanimous in condemning war and supporting the rights
of the Palestinians.

They all linked the issue to the attacks on their members pay and
conditions and the attacks on public services being carried out by
Blair's government.

Mick Rix and Ken Livingstone called for the Labour Party conference to
opppose Blair and ASLEF will be bringing an emergency resolution to the
October conference of the Party.

Other speakers included Carole Regan of the NUT and Palestine Solidarity
Campaign, Yvonne Ridley and speakers from the Muslim Council of Britain,
Friends of al Aqsa and Palestinian organisations and Neteurei Karta, the
anti-zionist Jewish sect (whose address was read out for them by a
Muslim leader).

The rally was jointly chaired by the Muslim Association of Britain and
Stop the War Coalition.

The Socialist Left was able to dominate the political agenda and its
ideas, papers and leaflets were received without any hostility from the
15% of Muslims present in the crowd.

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