From A World to Win News Service

Global Demos Mark Iraq Invasion Anniversary

Revolutionary Worker #1235, April 4, 2004, posted at

We received the following from A World to Win News Service.

March 22, 2004. A World to Win News Service.On 20 March, the first anniversary of the invasion in Iraq, protesters worldwide once again stepped into the streets to condemn the war and the continuing occupation of Iraq. Criss-crossing the globe, people in more than 60 countries (600 cities and towns) held demonstrations and other forms of resistance. Many slogans labelled Bush and Blair liars, the world's no. 1 terrorists and/or war criminals. The marches were also marked by broad support for the Palestinian people, which increasing numbers of people see linked with Iraqi resistance to imperialist domination of the region.

In the major cities of the narrow "coalition of the willing" (the U.S., UK, Spain and Italy) tens and in some cases hundreds of thousands stepped out to make their voices heard. Londoners denounced the war and lies of the Blair government, with a couple of youth climbing up Big Ben, the clock tower on the House of Parliament, to hang a banner saying "It's Time for Truth." With an especially large crowd in Barcelona, there were also marches in Madrid and 40 other cities in Spain as well.

In the U.S. people in over 310 cities protested, including tens of thousands in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. A dockworkers contingent (ILWU) announced that they had called for a work stoppage and no ships were being unloaded in the San Francisco Bay Area. A "Not in Our Name" contingent staged periodic die-ins. Police attacked a break-away march, arresting over 80 people. The protest outside Fort Bragg, North Carolina (one of the largest U.S. military bases), was led by families of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Vietnam veterans and other ex-soldiers. Even Bush's small hometown of Crawford, Texas, did not escape the bright light of a sizeable demonstration by anti-war protesters from all over the state.

Many events took place leading up to the actual anniversary. In San Francisco, on March 18, demonstrators targeted Bechtel corporate offices. That White House-connected company is the major contractor for the occupiers' construction projects in Iraq. In Los Angeles, a prayer vigil was held before a mountain of shoes and rows of combat boots, representing Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers who have died. In Washington, uniformed Secret Service agents blocked military families trying to march on the White House to deliver a mock coffin to Bush. The coffin signified all the war dead, including Iraqi civilians.

According to some sources, a million people swelled historic downtown Rome, Italy, calling for the end to the war and taking the 2,600 Italian troops out of Iraq. Most of the other capitals in Europe saw large demonstrations. Germans protested in 45 cities, with several thousand in Berlin and a few thousand marchers targeting Ramstein air base, a U.S. military installation used for the war.

Several hundreds protested in South Africa, Sudan, and Senegal. In downtown Cairo the stakes were high. Hundreds of demonstrators burning copies of the U.S. flag braved the overwhelming numbers of anti- riot police with full knowledge that many of their sisters and brothers who demonstrated against the war a year ago are still in Egypt's prisons. Some have been tortured and others are still missing, according to Human Rights Watch. A successful play called Messing with the Mind , condemning the occupation of Iraq and U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, performs to a packed audience every night in Cairo. After Israel, Egypt is the U.S.'s second most important ally in the region. Recently, Israel proposed that Egypt take responsibility for squashing the Palestinian struggle in neighboring Gaza. Also amid tight police security, thousands of people marched in five cities in Turkey. In Baghdad, Sunni and Shia Moslems held a joint demonstration after Friday prayers calling for unity against the occupiers.

Smaller rallies were held in Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, and Yemen, despite a ban by the Yemeni government. Three cities in Palestine saw demonstrations.

In many cities across India (including Bangalore), anti-war activists, revolutionaries, and ordinary people joined ranks to demand the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. In Manila, Philippines, in one of several demonstrations, hundreds of people fought with police in their effort to reach the U.S. embassy. While 12 cities in Japan held marches, Tokyo's attendance was around 30,000 despite pouring rain. Marchers called for the end of U.S. occupation as well as the return of Japanese from Iraq. Most major cities in Australia saw protests. In Sydney, marchers carried a huge cage with an effigy of Prime Minister Howard, symbolizing Australian prisoners held in Guantánamo.

From Mexico to Chile and Argentina, Latin Americans also took a stand against the war. People from nine different cities in Mexico marched. In Quito, Ecuador, human rights and anti-globalization activists targeted the U.S. embassy. In Managua, Nicaragua, marchers gave a hero's support to U.S. Army staff sergeant Camilo Mejia (an American of Nicaraguan origin). Mejia is among an estimated 600 people in the U.S. military who have refused to report for duty in Iraq.