Encyclopedia > February 15, 2003, peace marches

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Global protests against war on Iraq

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Thousands of small and large global protests against war in general or the U.S. plan to invade Iraq were held in 2003, voicing popular opposition to war on Iraq. This page informs about the most visible of those protest actions (in reverse chronological order, newest first). For editing and reading convenience, it has been split. Here you can find information about protests after the official start of the war, but see also Global protests against war on Iraq (pre-war) for protests before the invasion started officially.

Table of contents

Common slogans and chants

Common slogans and chants at the protests include:

"1,2,3,4, We don't want your oil war! 5,6,7,8, we will not cooperate!"
"What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!"
"No blood for oil!"
"This is what democracy looks like!"
"Hey, hey, ho, ho, Bush's war has got to go!"
"Support our troops, Bring them home!"
"Bush, Blair, CIA - how many people have you killed today?"
"Bush says war, we say no!"

Daily protest information

April 7, 2003 protests

In Oakland, California, police fired rubber bullets and beanbags at anti-war protesters and dockworkers outside the Port, injuring at least a dozen demonstrators and six longshoremen standing nearby. Most of the 500 demonstrators were dispersed peacefully, but a crowd of demonstrators[?] was blocking traffic on private property near the port and fail to disperse after police warnings. Oakland Police Chief said demonstrators also threw objects and bolts at them, and said the use of weapons was necessary to disperse the crowd. He indicated non-lethal projectiles were used to respond to direct illegal action. The longshoremen were caught in the crossfire. A dockworker spokeman reported Police gave two minutes to disperse, then didnot move to arrest people, instead they opened fire. Demonstrators also claim though the rubber bullets were supposed to be shot at the ground, the Police took direct aim at them. Oakland police said 31 people were arrested at the port.

March 28, 2003 protests

Global protests were not stopping in the second week of war. For example, there was a protest of some 10,000 Iranians in Teheran, Iran, endorsed by the government. 50,000 to 80,000 people protested in Cairo, Egypt after the Friday prayers.

In New York, USA, peace activists blocked Fifth Avenue. 200 people were brought to jail after a die-in[?] in front of the Rockefeller Center. In Bogota, Colombia there were violent conflicts in front of the US consulate. Protest marches and demonstrations happened also in Algiers, Algeria and in Bahrain, the Palestinian territories, South Korea, Indonesia and Pakistan. In Australia the police prevented protest marches. In Germany, protests by school pupils continued.

March 25, 2003 protests

Some 100,000 people have demonstrated in Syria against the USA, Great Britain and Israel. The protest was endorsed by the Syrian government.

In the Muslim country of Bangladesh, 60,000 people demonstrated.

Media also reports protests in front of the South Korean parliament building, linked to plans to bring South Korean forces into the war. In reaction to the protests, these plans were halted.

March 24, 2003 protests

Media reports talk about at least 20,000 school pupils protesting in Hamburg, Germany. After the protest march, conflicts between police and protesters broke out in front of a US building in Hamburg. Protesters who were pushed back by the police began to throw stones, who in turn reacted with water cannons. There have since been serious discussions about police abuses in Hamburg, and political ramnifications may follow.

In the afternoon, 50,000 people protested peacefully in Leipzig following traditional prayers for peace in the city's Nikolai Church. Prayers for peace and subsequent large demonstrations at that church every Monday ('Montagsdemos')helped bring down the GDR government in East Germany in 1989. The weekly demonstrations, supported by churches, trade unions and other civic organizations, began again in January 2003 in protest to the impending invasion of Iraq.

Protest marches in the afternoon were also reported in Berlin and Freiburg, Germany.

In Rome, Milano, Turin and other Italian cities, thousands of pupils and schoolteachers stayed away from school to protest against the Iraq war. Teachers union says 60 percent of all schools were closed down. The strike was planned weeks ago as a signal against a school reform bill, but was converted to an anti-war-protest.

400 anti-war protesters tried to enter the Australian parliament in Canberra to speak to the prime minister, but were stopped by police.

In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Maoist protesters attacked shops selling Coke and US soft drinks. Protests in front of US buildings and in fast food shops were also held in Indonesia.

In Egypt, 12,000 students of two universities in Cairo protested as well as 3,000 people in the Thai capital Bangkok.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 150 people threw stones at the United States consulate. The stones were supposed to break the windows, but consulate windows are bulletproof. The protesters attacked a McDonald's and stoned and fired against a Brazilian bank agency controlled by the Brazilian government and stoned a Spanish bank. Five were arrested.

March 22/March 23, 2003 protests

Media report about 150,000 protesters in Barcelona, Spain (other sources say 1,000,000); more than 100,000 (other sources: up to 500,000) protesters in London, United Kingdom; some 100,000 protesters in Paris, France; at least 150,000 protesters altogether in many German cities; between 35,000 and 90,000 in Lisbon, Portugal; 10,000 to 20,000 in Greece, Denmark, Switzerland and Finland.

250,000 protesters demonstrated in New York, USA according to the German Spiegel online (http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,241866,00) magazine. There were protests in Washington, Chicago and other cities, too. CNN reported a march of over a thousand protesters in Atlanta, Georgia passed by their headquarters, upset over that network's coverage of the war.

There were reports about massive conflicts between protesters and police in the Gulf state of Bahrain for the second day.

On the live broadcast of the 2003 Academy Awards, several presenters and recipients made various comments against the war ranging from Susan Sarandon giving a simple peace sign[?] to Michael Moore publicly denouncing George W. Bush upon receiving his award.

March 21, 2003 protests

Demonstrations were organized for a second day in a row in various US cities including: Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco; and Los Angeles. In the last two cities, demonstrators closed parts of the city to traffic.

Following the demonstrations, San Francisco police claimed to have discovered a cache of molotov cocktails which they claimed were going to be used by demonstrators.

March 20, 2003 protests

The day after the war on Iraq officially started with the U.S. bombardment, thousands of protests and demonstrations around the world were held.

Demonstrations occurred in many cities across the U.S. In some cities -- including Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon -- demonstrators blocked traffic in the city centers with the goal of shutting the cities down, resulting in the arrests of over 2000 people nationwide. Other cities, such as Boston, Atlanta, Georgia, and Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, demonstrations were more peaceful, while in still other cities, people engaged in counter-demonstrations, stating that they were supporting the soldiers, many of whom were members of National Guard units, ordered into battle.

Approximately 300 protesters demonstrated outside of the Federal Building in San Francisco, California. Many of the protesters apparently began vomiting on the sidewalks and plaza areas in front of the building and behind the building. Spokesmen told reporters that it was the protesters way of saying that war in Iraq "made them sick". Seven demonstrators were arrested after attempting to block about 20 federal employees and other visitors trying to enter the building.

Over 100 protesters were arrested in Philadelphia after blocking the entrances to the federal office buildings.

In the morning of March 20, 2003, school pupils all over Germany held spontaneous marches in Berlin (20,000 participants), Stuttgart (15,000 participants), Freiburg (10,000 participants) and Kassel (5,000 participants). Actions started also in Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Nuremberg. In Switzerland 40.000 students and pupils demonstrated. In Italy the public services union announced a strike. In Cairo, Egypt, 4.000 people protested. Also in Luxembourg, a total of about 15,000 students (according to the Tageblatt newspaper) walked out and held a spontaneous march to protest in front of the US embassy (those in the capital). (FYI: Luxembourg has a total population of about 460,000)

In the afternoon, in many cities in Europe protest marches and actions were held. In Berlin, Germany, 60.000 people protested. All in all, some 200.000 people joined protests on March 20 in Germany. In Paris, France, 20.000 people meet in front of the U.S. embassy. In Greece, 150.000 persons protested.

Pre-war protests

The 2003 war on Iraq is said to be the first war with massive global protests before its start. More about these pre-war protests can be found on Global protests against war on Iraq (pre-war).

See also

External links

  • MoveOn (http://www.moveon.org) - Democracy in Action.
  • United For Peace (http://www.unitedforpeace.org/) - A U.S. resource for anti-war activists
  • Not In Our Name (http://www.nion.us) - A Statement of Conscience Against War and Repression
  • Not In Our Name (http://www.notinourname.net/) - NO War on the World NO Detentions & Round-ups NO Police State Restrictions
  • TFF (http://www.transnational.org/) - The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
  • Indymedia (http://www.indymedia.org/) - Independent Media Center Homepage



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