Worldwide protests against Iraq occupation
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Sep 28 07:36:54 MDT 2003
Pull out of Iraq, protests urge
By Kate Holton, Reuters, 9/28/2003
LONDON -- Tens of thousands of antiwar protesters staged demonstrations
around the world yesterday, venting their anger at the US-led invasion of
Iraq and calling for an end to the occupation.
Chanting "Troops out of Iraq and Blair out of Number 10," protesters in
London demonstrated against Britain's continued military involvement.
Coordinated protests were held across western Europe and in Turkey and
South Korea, but were only a faint shadow of huge prewar peace rallies.
In Britain, Washington's main ally in the war, police said an estimated
20,000 people marched in London in the first major protest there since the
war ended in April.
The march added to pressure on Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose popularity
and trust ratings have sunk in the aftermath of the Iraq conflict.
The failure to unearth weapons of mass destruction -- the main
justification for war -- and the public inquiry into the suicide of a
government specialist on Iraq have plunged Blair into the worst political
crisis of his six-year tenure.
"It was all lies," said protester Peter Mason, 45. "The millions who
demonstrated before the war were right."
In February, about 1 million people marched through London trying to
prevent the war in the biggest political protest march in British history.
Organizers of yesterday's protest plan more rallies when President Bush
visits Britain in November.
In Spain's capital, Madrid, thousands protested against Prime Minister Jose
Maria Aznar's support for the war. Spain sent no troops to fight, but Aznar
gave Bush strong political backing during the conflict.
Marching behind a banner calling for the withdrawal of 1,300 Spanish
soldiers sent to help keep the peace in postwar Iraq, the crowd chanted:
"No to war" and "Bush, Aznar out of Iraq." Police estimated the crowd at
7,000 people, far fewer than the hundreds of thousands who protested in
Spain before and during the war.
In Seoul, more than 2,000 people protested in the largest rally yet against
a US request for South Korean combat troops for Iraq.
In Muslim Turkey, about 5,000 people demonstrated in Istanbul and the
capital Ankara against sending peacekeepers to neighboring Iraq and in
support of the Palestinians. Witnesses said at least one person was
detained in Istanbul, where the crowd burned US and Israeli flags.
In France, one of the fiercest opponents of the war, police said an
estimated 3,000 people turned up.
About 2,000 gathered in the Greek capital Athens, carrying placards such as
"Occupiers out of Iraq."
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