Workers down their tools for peace.

Chris Brady cdbrady at attglobal.net
Sun Mar 16 02:35:13 MST 2003


I am working on the biography of Carl Geiser.
He was the commissar for the Abraham Lincoln Battalion
and for the Mac-Paps in the War in Spain (1939-1939).
He is ninety-two now, but still intensely interested in
world affairs.  I went by to see him this morning and
found him snoozing in front of his computer.
I usually come by with print-outs of particular news
stories that he might be interested in, stories I've
collected in my morning readings of the papers and
sites on the web.  This morning I awoke him with
the following report.  Tears came to his eyes.
Later in the day I went back to set up his TV so he
could watch the reports of the global protests
against the war.  We were both astonished.
C-SPAN showed the Washington DC demo, speeches from
the podium and all, and noted that it would re-show
it at midnight again. "Could be big changes coming" :

Millions of workers down tools
as anti-war protests sweep Europe and beyond

By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer

Fri Mar 14, 2:51 PM ET

 BERLIN - Millions of Europeans stopped work around noon Friday to
protest a possible attack on Iraq as opposition to U.S.-led military
action rippled across the globe.

 Labor unions said millions of workers in countries including Spain,
Germany, Italy and Switzerland answered a continentwide call to strike
for 15 minutes to press for peace and put the brakes on the U.S.-led
drive for war.

In Germany, where polls show an overwhelming majority of people oppose a
war, the strikes briefly halted vehicle production at three Volkswagen
factories and a DaimlerChrysler plant.  Trams ground to a halt in the
eastern city of Halle.

Italian unions said workers downed tools from Sicily in the south to
Turin in the north.  Activists hung a 6-meter (yard) rainbow peace flag
from a bridge in Pisa, while workers in numerous factories sounded horns
to mark the strike.

While German, French and Russian leaders are spearheading resistance to
a military assault, backers of Washington's hard line such as Spanish
Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and Australian Prime Minister John
Howard are defying hostile public opinion.

"Not acting to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction is neither
politically nor morally acceptable," Aznar told a meeting of his Popular
Party shortly after the workers' protest.

On the other side of the globe, Howard was hounded by anti-war
protesters during a series of appointments in the southern city of
Adelaide.  Demonstrators hurled eggs and tomatoes at Howard's car and
brought traffic to a standstill.

One protester was taken into police custody for lunging at Howard's car,
but was not charged.

In Turkey, where the United States wants to deploy about 62,000 combat
troops, two dozen peace activists chained themselves to the wheels of a
truck blocking an entrance to the eastern port of Iskenderun, where U.S.
forces are unloading equipment ahead of a possible Iraq war.
Police dragged away the demonstrators while dozens of Turkish soldiers
reinforced the entrance to the port.

"If the U.S. is so intent on disarmament, it should start at home," said
Banu Dokmecibasi, a spokesman for environmental group Greenpeace. "It is
the United States that possesses the world's most sophisticated weaponry
and it is the United States that holds the world's largest arsenal of
weapons of mass destruction."

In Russia, Greenpeace climbers hung a large poster that read "Veto War"
on a span of a bridge across the Moscow river against the background of
St. Basil's Cathedral and the golden-domed Kremlin.

About 350 people in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan marched in
the capital Bishkek with banners reading, "Do not draw us into war" and
"The peaceful sky over Kyrgyzstan is not for war."

Kyrgyzstan has been hosting hundreds of U.S.-led anti-terror coalition
troops from several Western countries at a civilian airport outside
Bishkek.  The Kyrgyz government insists the conditions for using the
facilities only allow operations in Afghanistan - not in Iraq.

In Egypt, about 4,000 demonstrators gathered at Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque,
the highest authority in the Sunni Islamic world, chanting anti-American
slogans and calling on Arab leaders to form a common front to avert a
war.

Demonstrations are planned worldwide also for Saturday, including a
sit-down protest at the U.S. military's Rhine-Main air base near
Frankfurt, Germany, a key transit point for military traffic to
Afghanistan and the Gulf.


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