People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 13

March 26, 2006

Protests Across The Globe Mark Iraq War Anniversary


A view of vibrant protest march in London


WORLDWIDE anti-war protests marked the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Thousands of people took to the streets in various countries around the world demanding the withdrawal of US and other foreign troops from Iraq. Domestically, growing doubts over the war have further eroded president Bush's approval ratings to their lowest level.


In a Newsweek poll released last week, only 36 per cent of the respondents approved of his performance as president while 65 per cent disapproved of his handling of the war.


Francis Fukuyama, the leader of the band of intellectual warriors of regime change in Iraq thinks Iraq war a big mistake three years after the invasion. He says the war in Iraq is wrong in theory and practise. "Most of the neo conservatives are lying low because they realise what they advocated hasn't worked out at all and they're just hoping something will turn up," he says. The former interim prime minister of Iraq, Ayad Allawi, once hailed by Bush as the kind of fair-minded leader Iraq needed declared in an interview with the BBC that the country was nearing a "point of no return". "It is unfortunate that we are in civil war," said Allawi. "We are losing each day, as an average, 50-60 people through the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is,” he said.


Despite this, US president George W Bush and his other war mongering colleagues brazenly attempt to create a delusion that things are going well in Iraq. People of the world have fittingly rebuffed this creation of a mirage by the Bush administration.




Hundreds of US anti-war protestors rallied around the Pentagon headquarters trying to deliver a mock coffin to US defense secretary Donald H Rumsfeld. The attempt was blocked by police, who kept the protestors off Pentagon grounds.


As part of the worldwide wave of protests against Bush's administration's war policy on the third anniversary of the Iraq war, people marched several kilometers from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC to the Pentagon headquarters, asking the US military to stop the war.


Some of them were holding a mock coffin covered with photographs from the war, which represented the massive war casualties. When trying to take the mock coffin to the doorsteps of the Pentagon headquarters, the protestors were stopped by a high steel barrier by the police. More than a dozen protesters crossed the barrier and were immediately taken into custody by the police.


Protests were held in a number of cities across North America in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and other cities in the United States and Canada. A post-production worker in film and video spoke about the international character of the right-wing shift of politics: “I am here today because I am opposed to the way things are going in the world. What I see is that the governments that are in power are more corporations and businesses rather than organisations run by people. Especially our government is a corporation more than anything. The people of the world should run the world.”


Raul, an accountant, said, “Bush wanted to take over Iraq since his first day in office. It had nothing to do with 9/11, weapons of mass destruction or democracy. The war was for control of oil and the entire Middle East.”


“Most people in America and around the world are opposed to this war. This country is supposed to be a democracy, but Bush doesn’t care about us or what we think.”


Sgt. Camilo Mejia, a conscientious objector from Miami Beach, Florida, who was court-martialed and jailed for desertion, joined other anti-war rallies said, "No soldier signs up for a war for oil."


Several victims of Hurricane Katrina joined the protest, denouncing the lack of aid for storm victims. One banner read, “Make levees, not war.”

"We attacked a country who never did anything to us," said Philadelphia resident Al Zappala, who lost her 30-year-old son in Iraq in 2004.


"Katrina only happened because of the incompetence and callousness of the (Bush) administration, just as we've seen in Iraq," Sheehan said In Chicago, demanding the US pull out of Iraq.


“Bush is a category 5 disaster," one sign read. More protests were held in Boston, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, chanting: "Stop the US war machine, from Iraq to Korea to the Philippines," "We say enough hypocrisy, enough lies, our soldiers must come home now".


The largest demonstration was in Toronto, where people rallied across the street from the US consulate before marching through the city’s downtown core. In addition to students, striking college teachers, and other trade unionists, the demonstration was attended by a number of American “war resisters”—US soldiers who have fled to Canada to escape having to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.


In Montreal, people braved a deep chill to march against the war and continuing US occupation of Iraq.




Tens of thousands of protesters, from hurricane-ravaged Louisiana to Australia, chanting "Stop the War" and calling for the withdrawal of occupying forces from the war-ravaged country, crowded the streets expressing their opposition to the US-led invasion and the bloodshed and turmoil it has caused in and around Iraq.


In Seoul, South Korea, which has the third-largest contingent of foreign troops in Iraq after the US and UK, large number of people participated in anti-war demonstrations. “This is aimed at calling for an end to the US occupation of Iraq withdrawal of South Korean troops and an end to South Korea-US war coalition,” said Kim Kwang-il, one of the protest organisers in Seoul. “We’re also denouncing recent US moves to attack Iran.”


Also anti-war protesters took to the streets in Japan, chanting "No war! Stop the war!" and banging drums as they marched through downtown Tokyo toward the US Embassy.


"The Iraq war was President Bush’s big mistake and the whole world is against him," said organizer Ayako Nishimura. "Iraq must decide its own affairs."


UK, Basra, New York, Madrid, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto and Dublin all staged protests, demanding the US and foreign troops withdraw from the war-torn country.


More than 4,000 people marched in central Madrid shouting and waving banners to demand an end to the occupation.


Crowds gathered outside the Spanish foreign ministry in a protest organized by a group of 30 left-wing social and political groups.


Demonstrators called the siege of Iraq by US troops a "war crime" and compared it to the notorious bombing of the Spanish city of Guernica during Spain's Civil War.


In Brussels more than 5,000 people joined a demonstration in front of the US embassy.


In Malaysia, peace activists held a protest outside the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur, surrounded by scores of riot police armed with batons and tear gas launchers. Armed with banners and posters reading "Stop the war in Iraq" and "Bush terrorist," the demonstrators called for an immediate withdrawal of foreign forces and for the United States and its allies to be charged with crimes against humanity.


Protesters marched through central Sydney, chanting "End the war now"and "Troops out of Iraq.'' Many campaigners waved placards branding President Bush the "World's No. 1 Terrorist'' and expressing concerns that Iran could be the next country to face invasion.


A rally was organised in Tokyo, where more than 2,000 people gathered in a downtown park, carrying signs saying "Stop the Occupation.'' And in Turkey, thousands gathered in Istanbul for protests while other anti-war protests took place in the cities of Izmir, Trabzon and the capital, Ankara.


In Cuba, musicians gave concerts as part of anti-war protests, while the official press denounced US bombings in Iraq as a "warning and renewed threat" against countries refusing to toe the US line.




Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez condemned the US-led military occupation of Iraq and said world opinion was turning against the Iraq war. Chavez marked the third anniversary of aggression on Iraq calling Bush a "coward, murderer, genocidal, alcoholic, drunk, immoral, donkey -- you are the worst, Mr Danger, you are sick, and I know so personally."


"You are a coward because you did not go to Iraq to lead your armed forces. It is very easy to command them from afar. If it occurs to you one day to invade Venezuela, I will be here waiting for you on the savanna, Mr Danger," Chavez said.




More than 100,000 anti-war protesters from across Britain marched in London against three years of occupation of Iraq and the threats of a military attack on Iran.


“Blair wants us to forget about the war, but I haven’t forgotten,” said Abdul Khan, a young man from Walsall who travelled to London for the march from the town. “They’re now targeting Iran and Syria. They want to go on and on. Blair is guilty, though he won’t admit it,” said a protestor.


 “A journalist asked me why this demonstration seemed to have a spring in its step,” said George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green & Bow. “I told him it’s because people across this country can sense that justice is coming for the war criminal Tony Blair.” He urged the people to punish Blair at the local elections on May 4. “We need British troops out of Iraq—and Tony Blair out of Downing Street,” he said.


Opposing any threat of a military attack on Iran was a key element of the demonstration.


Ben Griffin, who served in Iraq last year said that what he saw in Iraq wasn’t consistent with ‘bringing democracy’ to the country—it was treating Iraqis with utter contempt." I’d like to tell Tony Blair, it’s not God that will judge you—it’s us,” he said. “The aim of Guantanamo is to scare people from standing up against tyrants like Blair and Bush. But there’s no way they can scare us. We will win this war, through the support of decent humanity built across  the world,” Griffin said.


A number of military families joined the protest.  Neville and Gabrielle, who have a family member in the armed forces who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told Socialist Worker, “We felt we had to attend the demonstration because of the way Tony Blair has deceived the British public over the reasons for sending our armed forces into Iraq.


He was happy to holiday with his family in the sands of the Caribbean, while our troops were dying in the sands of Iraq.


 “Blair out of office. Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.” The demonstration was filled with young people, many who were taking part in their first demonstration. Many protesters raised fears and concerns regarding any military intervention in Iran.


Many protestors felt that it was important that they still kept marching and visibly showing the world that they still cared.


(Courtesy: Agencies and Socialist Worker)