In the wake of last week’s attack on Iraq by U.S. and British troops, millions around the world poured into the streets for practically continuous anti-war actions. A small sampling follows.

In India, thousands organized by the Committee against War on Iraq massed before the U.S. embassy in New Delhi on March 22. Following a three-hour rally in which speakers also denounced the Vajpayee government’s failure to oppose the U.S. war, demonstrators surged through police barricades and many were arrested.

A broad coalition including trade unions, organized marches and meetings in several cities in Karnataka. In Bengal, the Left Front held a mass anti-war convention at Kolkata University on March 25. The country’s main trade union federations urged their members to participate in anti-war actions.

“The leadership of the United States and Britain will have to bear the full responsibility for the lives lost and the devastation caused to Iraq,” the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said in a statement. “History will not forgive them for this crime.”

A first-ever anti-war protest in Afghanistan brought more than 10,000 into the streets of Mehtarlam, capital of the eastern province of Laghman. In Pakistan, 200,000 demonstrated in Lahore in that country’s largest anti-war protest so far.

Over 1,500 Indonesians staged noisy but peaceful anti-war rallies at the U.S., British, and Australian missions in Jakarta, demanding an immediate end to the war.

In Bangladesh, a general strike called by the left-led Eleven Party Alliance brought the country to a halt on March 22. The Communist Party of Bangladesh launched a continuous protest meeting until the war is stopped.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kong Quan told a March 20 press conference that his country is calling urgently for an immediate halt to military actions against Iraq and a return to political settlement. The military action against Iraq violated the UN Charter and the basic norms of international law, he said. In a phone conversation late that day, Chinese State Councilor and former foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan told Secretary of State Colin Powell that China “strongly urges an end to military actions … so as to avoid hurting innocent people.”

In South Korea, students, workers and environmental activists pressed the government to reverse its decision to send troops to Iraq. A coalition of 13 universities issued a statement saying “lawmakers who vote for the bill will be branded as war criminals,” while the Federation of Korean Trade Unions and student activists vowed they would campaign in the next general election against the bill’s supporters. Health organizations called for sending humanitarian aid instead of medical units, while celebrity entertainers made anti-war statements. At the same time, the North Korean government protested the invasion of Iraq as “a grave encroachment on sovereignty,” and expressed concern that North Korea will be the next target for a U.S. attack.

Earlier this month the Japanese Communist Party organized anti war actions at some 10,000 locations throughout Japan. Among the actions: over 13,000 people marched in Tokyo, and thousands more demonstrated in Osaka, Kyoto and Okinawa – where popular anger at the U.S. military bases on the island brought people to some 11 different protests.

In Australia, hundreds of thousands have protested, including over 100,000 in Sydney, and thousands more in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne – where the Victorian Trades Hall Council rallied thousands of unionists on March 21. Said Maritime Union leader Wally Prichard, “Bush says he has Saddam in his sights. We have [Prime Minister] Howard in our sights. We will have regime change.” The Books not Bombs coalition was readying another student strike for March 26, while unionists were scheduling more anti-war actions, including a March 27 Day of Action against the War and a rally on March 29.

On Tuesday the U.S. formally dropped Angola from the public list of the “coalition of the willing.” The shift was symbolic of developments throughout Africa. In Dakar, Senegal, thousands of university students and faculty held a protest meeting March 24 that turned into a spontaneous anti-war march. A joint statement by three university trade unions pressed the government of Senegal to “take up its responsibilities and denounce the colonial occupation of a sovereign state.”

In Ghana, on the eve of the attack, a broad coalition of political parties, civil society organizations and members of the public called on the governments of the U.S., Britain, and Spain to respect the Security Council’s decision to disarm Iraq through peaceful means. They warned that war on Iraq will seriously affect developing countries and result in untold hardship for people. Other protests took place in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya; Mogadishu, Somalia and Nouakchott, Mauritania.

In South Africa, where the governing African National Congress, South African Communist Party, Congress of South African Trade Unions and dozens of other people’s organizations are united in the Stop the War Campaign, the SACP said the attack shows the “intention of the U.S. to act unilaterally, undermine global dialogue in order to impose its hegemony militarily and otherwise in every corner of the globe.”

In Khartoum, Sudan, thousands marched toward the U.S. embassy, but were blocked by security forces and road closures. “No American embassy in Sudan!” they shouted.

“Every death is painful for us, both the young Iraqis and the American soldiers who die, whether it’s one, ten or 100,” said Cuba’s President Fidel Castro. He expressed great concern about the effects of the bombings on Iraqi women and children, and added that many people around the world were disturbed by the “colossal spectacle brought on by those extremely powerful bombs” shown on TV. Speaking March 20 before the UN Commission on Human Rights, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque urged UN members to fight back against “this dangerous and unsustainable order that they are trying to impose on us” by building “a new alliance for a future of peace, security and justice for all.”

“Wars oppress, conquer, subjugate, enslave and displace,” novelist Carlos Montemayor told 50,000 demonstrators in Mexico City, March 22. “The growing poverty and suffering of people throughout the world is not the result of a global policy of peace.”

In a March 20 statement, the Canadian Labour Congress called on “every worker in this country, unionized or not, to take an action for peace in the next few days,” and urged employers “to support these actions and join their employees to reflect on the risks to innocent lives created by the current international situation.”

Longshoremen in St. John issued a “hot cargo” edict for military shipments destined for the Iraq war, signaling their refusal to handle such cargo. Calling the conflict “an immoral war,” the union’s statement called on other workers and the people of St. John to support their position

On the same day, the Communist Party of Canada called the war “an act of state terrorism,” and called on Canadians to demand that Parliament issue a formal statement condemning the war.

Communist parties throughout South America issued ringing statements against the war. Announcing a March 27 Day of Action, the Colombian Communist Party called for “a popular and democratic mobilization against the imperialist war on Iraq, against Plan Colombia and the U.S. troops in our country.”

“The U.S., which in recent times has not hesitated to invade and trample on various people around the world, reaffirms its ambitions without concern for the consequences of misery, starvation and death that lie in its wake,” said the Communist Party of Argentina.

“The very role of the United Nations is at stake,” said the Communist Party of Brazil. “The current world order is seriously harmed.”

The Communist Party of Chile called on the government to use its diplomatic powers to convoke an urgent international conference on world peace.

In Honduras, trade unionists, students, indigenous peoples and others protested at the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa. “While Bush drops bombs on Iraq, we must remember that he drops ‘economic bombs’ on the countries of the Third World everyday,” said indigenous leader Salvador Zuniga.

In Uruguay, unions and other people’s organizations gathered at Montevideo’s Liberty Plaza before marching to the U.S. embassy.

Earlier in the month, demonstrators in the Dominican Republic protested the impending war in a demonstration organized by trade unions, women’s organizations and others in Colon Park in downtown Santiago.

Many thousands of Arab and Jewish Israelis demonstrated March 22 in Nazareth, Sakhnin, Umm-el Fahm and other cities to protest the invasion of Iraq. In Haifa, the Peace Forum organized a large vigil at a major intersection. On March 20, just after the war started, a broad coalition of peace, women’s groups and occupation service objectors held a “moving vigil” in front of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

In Turkey, thousands of demonstrators organized by the Communist Party protested at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Beyoglu, Ankara and other cities.

Some of the region’s biggest protests were in Sanaa, capital of Yemen, where tens of thousands marched on the U.S. embassy.

In Cairo, protests started after Friday prayers at the historic Al Azhar mosque, and moved to the city center, where clashes with police broke out.

Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan and Bahrain were also protest sites.

Police estimated over 200,000 at a London march and rally, while demonstrators also marched in other cities throughout the United Kingdom. Stop the War coalition chair Andrew Murray called the attack “an outrage against world peace, against the population of Iraq and against law and democracy in Britain.” Demonstrators also marched on U.S. military facilities, including the RAF Fairford base where U.S. B-52 bombers being used to attack Iraq are stationed.

Among protests in Spain, 200,000 demonstrated in Valencia, March 22, to demand the Valencian parliament take a stand against the war.

In Greece, hundreds of thousands throughout the country have protested each day since the attack began. Sites have included the U.S. embassy, military and NATO facilities, including the NATO base at Action. Among demonstrators are many unionists, especially those affiliated with the left led PAME union federation, and students.

German streets have also been filled with protesters starting March 20, with 60,000 gathering in Berlin and many thousands more in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Duesseldorf and more. Near the U.S. Ramstein Air Base, Roman Catholic Fr. Norbert Kaiser told demonstrators, “People are watching television as though there are fireworks in Baghdad … but people are dying there.”

Rome has been a center of constant protests. Some 300,000 farmers held an anti-war demonstration there March 21. Italian workers have conducted a two-hour strike of their own as well as participating in the Europe-wide union stoppage earlier in March. Demonstrators marched to the NATO base in Naples, while in Milan crowds waved the UN flag as their giant march kicked off. Major marches were also set for other cities.

In France, tens of thousands gathered in Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Perpignan and other cities.

Hans Lebrecht contributed to this article. The author can be reached at cpusainternat@mindspring.com

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