From A World to Win News Service

Worldwide Protests Against U.S. Occupation of Iraq

Revolutionary Worker #1215, October 12, 2003, posted at

September 29, 2003. A World to Win News Service. A worldwide mobilization calling for troops out of Iraq and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine took place over the weekend of September 27-28. These dates coincided with the third year anniversary of the start of the second Palestinian Intifada.

There have been initial reports of demonstrations in San Francisco, Los Angeles (where protesters also targeted the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan), Copenhagen, Brussels and Warsaw. Palestinian residents staged a march in Sofia, Bulgaria. Attendance varied from several hundred in cities like Cairo and Berlin, to several thousand in Paris (including strong Palestinian and Arab contingents), Madrid, Barcelona, Istanbul, Athens, Beirut, Seoul and Tokyo. In some cities like Istanbul and Tokyo, marchers demanded that their governments not send troops to Iraq.

The largest action took place in London. [According to the London Guardian newspaper, "The Stop the War Coalition, the main organizer of the rally, put the numbers gathered at 100,000 while police said 20,000..."-- RW ] A major demand was the toppling of the Blair government, which is already in very serious trouble because of the exposure of the lies it used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Although many veterans from last winter's marches aimed at stopping the war took part, many people also came out for the first time, saying that they felt they could no longer just stand aside while U.S. and British troops carry out what is clearly an unjust occupation. UK activists also saw this weekend as preparation for massive protests when Bush visits the UK in November.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq and its unconditional support for Israeli occupation of Palestine are the two main legs of America's bid for total domination of the Middle East. In most cities, the links between the two occupations were closely drawn. Leaflets compared the brutality of the U.S. and other foreign troops in Iraq with that of the Israeli army in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including the lethal raids into family- occupied buildings and neighborhoods, the destruction of people's homes, military policies based on contempt for human life, and denial of people's basic rights, including the right to their own country. Giant Palestinian flags and kafiyehs were abundant. Placards called for victory to the Intifada. Some demonstrators carried huge walls signifying the apartheid approach being taken by Israel. Demonstrations were also held in cities in occupied Palestine itself. Residents honouring this anniversary in Nablus vowed to fight until victory.

In Europe, some demonstrators upheld the 27 veteran and active-duty Israeli air force pilots who declared last week that they would refuse to fly attack operations or carry Israeli ground troops to attack Palestinians. The Israeli military responded by grounding them and threatening them with prison if they don't retract their joint statement.

The weekend protests were the most widespread actions since Bush declared an end to the war May 1. Since then the U.S.-led occupiers have killed at least several hundred Iraqi civilians. The upsurge against the occupation came at an important juncture in which an increasingly beleaguered Bush regime is frantically seeking some sort of UN resolution to help it get more troops, both from other countries and the U.S. itself.