Largest demo in British history
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 15 14:50:09 MST 2003
(posted to alt.politics.socialism.trotsky by Alex Prianikoff)
Over a million people marched against War on Iraq in London today, February
15th. The official police estimate for the numbers attending was 750,000,
although the main organisers, the Stop the War coalition, were claiming 2
million over the p.a. system at the end of the rally in Hyde Park.
Organiser John Rees was quoted by the BBC as saying the turnout had been
fantastic with an "electric atmosphere but also very serious and determined".
Demonstrators gathering at the end-of-march rally heard speakers, including
Former US presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, ex-minister Mo Mowlam,
London's mayor Ken Livingstone, actress Vanessa Redgrave, human rights
campaigner Bianca Jagger and former MP Tony Benn.
The march began at two assembly points, the Embankment for a march past
Westminster, and Gower Street, near the University of London, where
marchers from the North of England and Midlands assembled. The two marches
converged two hours later at Piccadilly, which was jammed tight
with people carrying placards produced by the Daily Mirror', Stop the War
Coalition, Socialist Workers Party and Muslim Association of Britain. Most
people were content to pick up whatever placard came to hand, regardless of
By 5.30 when the speeches had already ended, marchers were streaming into
the park with no end in sight. Large numbers dispersed into the Marble Arch
and Knightsbridge areas, still holding their banners and the tube stations
were closed until past 6.30.
I can't give any independent estimate of the figures claimed for the march,
as I never got to the rally being too involved in stewarding, leafletting
Many people had never been on a demonstration before and came up to thank
the Stewards for organising the event. One woman handed me £20 for a 50 p
The STWC leaflet "If War Breaks Out" was snapped up faster than it could be
handed out. It calls for mass meetings, walkouts and sit-ins and mass
occupations of city centres across Britain. It also calls on a recall TUC
conference to discuss national strike action, a call echoed by 5 union
General Secretaries last week. However it was undoubtedly the largest
demonstration or rally I've seen and probably the largest in British History.
There is now a mass base for the Stop the War Coalition's arguments, which
will give Blair and his allies in New Labour serious concern when making
their calculations in the next few weeks.
www.stopwar.org.uk PO Box 3739 London E5 8EJ
Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org
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