Tens of thousands in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and India protest war

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Jan 27 23:39:47 MST 2003


Reuters. 27 January 2003.
Arabs Take to Streets to Protest War Against Iraq.

DAMASCUS and BOMBAY -- Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in
some
Arab capitals Monday to protest against a possible U.S. war on Iraq,
labeling
President Bush a "butcher" and his administration "arrogant."

People demonstrated outside United Nations offices in Syria, Yemen and
Bahrain
hours before a deadline for a report by U.N. arms inspectors on Iraq's
cooperation in their hunt for weapons of mass destruction.

Also in India's financial capital, Bombay, about 1,000 protesters against
war
on Iraq shouted anti-American slogans as they marched through the crowded
streets, blocking traffic.

Some of the protestors were arrested as they tried to approach the U.S.
consulate.

Demonstrators in Damascus gathered outside the U.N. office where they
chanted
slogans, calling Bush a "criminal and a butcher" and demanding he ditch his
"plan" to attack Iraq.

"We sacrifice our souls and blood for Iraq," chanted young demonstrators.

"America wants to dominate us, it wants to weaken us and to destroy Iraq to
control its oil," said student Housam Halabi, echoing a view shared by many
Syrians and Arabs.

In the Yemeni capital, leaders from the ruling and opposition political
parties
led tens of thousands of Yemenis in a protest march from a main square to
the U.
N. office to deliver a message demanding the world body step in to prevent
the
war.

"'No' to an attack on Iraq. 'No' to American arrogance," one banner read.

The head of Yemen's Islamist opposition Islah Party Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar
slammed what he called the "blood suckers" in the U.S. administration who
are
pushing for war.

"Those who are amassing fleets, speak with arrogance and their aim is to
destroy Iraq's ... achievements and to control its oil which is making the
blood suckers in the U.S. administration drool," Ahmar said.

In the Bahraini capital, Manama, about 100 youths asked the U.N. to prevent
the
United States from launching a war on Iraq.

Carrying banners saying "'No' to war in Iraq" and "Death to America," they
delivered a letter asking the United Nations to fight poverty and illiteracy
rather than provide authorization for a war on Iraq.

"We are asking for peace and we want the United Nations to hear our pleas to
save the Iraqi people," said 20-year old civil engineering student Ebtisam
Al
Shenoo, standing underneath blood red banners and fluttering Iraqi flags.

"We want to reach them (the United Nations) before they make any decision,"
marketing student Nidhal al-Qassab told Reuters, adding that he hoped the
United Nations will prevent a war.

"If the United Nations doesn't have the power then there is no reason for it
to
exist."

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