- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 16, 2003

From combined dispatches
LONDON Millions of protesters, many of them marching in the capitals of the United States' traditional allies, demonstrated yesterday against U.S. plans to attack Iraq.
The largest outcry against war occurred in the European countries whose leaders have vocally supported President Bush's position at the United Nations. A million people marched the streets of Rome, 1.3 million paraded in Barcelona and 2 million in Madrid.
In London, at least 750,000 people joined in the city's biggest demonstration ever, police said. Berlin had as many as a half-million on the streets, and Paris was estimated to have as many as 100,000.
London's marchers hoped, in the words of keynote speaker Jesse Jackson, to "turn up the heat" on Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has been President Bush's staunchest European ally for his tough Iraq policy.
Rome protesters showed their disagreement with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's support for Mr. Bush, while demonstrators in Paris and Berlin backed the skeptical stances of their governments.
"What I would say to Mr. Blair is stop toadying up to the Americans and listen to your own people, us, for once," said Elsie Hinks, 77, who marched in London with her husband, Sidney, a retired Church of England priest.
Some leaders of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government took part in the Berlin protest, which turned the tree-lined boulevard between the Brandenburg Gate and the 19th-century Victory Column into a sea of banners, balloons emblazoned with "No war in Iraq" and demonstrators swaying to live music. Police estimated the crowd at 300,000 to 500,000.
"We Germans in particular have a duty to do everything to ensure that war, above all a war of aggression, never again becomes a legitimate means of policy," shouted Friedrich Schorlemmer, a Lutheran pastor and former East German pro-democracy activist.
In the Paris crowd at the Place Denfert-Rochereau, a large American flag bore the black inscription, "Leave us alone."
Gerald Lenoir, 41, of Berkley, Calif., came to Paris specifically to support the French demonstrators. "I am here to protest my government's aggression against Iraq," he said.
In Southern France, about 10,000 people demonstrated in Toulouse against the United States, chanting, "They bomb, they exploit, they pollute, enough of this barbarity."
Police estimated that 60,000 turned out in Oslo, 50,000 in the bitter cold in Brussels, while about 35,000 gathered peacefully in frigid Stockholm.
About 80,000 marched in Dublin, Irish police said. Crowds were estimated at 60,000 in Seville, Spain; 40,000 in Bern, Switzerland; 30,000 in Glasgow, Scotland; 25,000 in Copenhagen; 15,000 in Vienna, Austria; 10,000 in Amsterdam; 5,000 in Cape Town and 4,000 in Johannesburg, in South Africa; 5,000 in Tokyo; and 2,000 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
"War is not a solution. War is a problem," Czech philosopher Erazim Kohak told a crowd of about 500 in Prague.
In Baghdad, tens of thousands of Iraqis, many carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles, demonstrated to support Saddam Hussein and denounce the United States.
"Our swords are out of their sheaths, ready for battle," read one of hundreds of banners carried by marchers along Palestine Street, a broad Baghdad avenue.
In Damascus, the capital of neighboring Syria, an estimated 200,000 protesters chanted anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli slogans as they marched to the People's Assembly.
Several thousand protesters in Athens unfurled a giant banner across the wall of the Acropolis "NATO, U.S. and EU equals War" before heading toward the U.S. Embassy.
Police fired tear gas in clashes with several hundred anarchists wearing hoods and crash helmets, who smashed store windows and threw a gasoline bomb at a newspaper office. Thirteen youths were arrested, and five policemen and two protesters were injured.
In Moscow, 300 people marched to the U.S. Embassy, with one placard urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to "be firmer with America."
Three thousand to 5,000 people marched through a suburb of Canberra, the Australian capital, to protest government support for U.S. policy. Australia has committed 2,000 troops to the Persian Gulf.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide