Protesters in more than 60 countries – from Japan, South Korea and Australia, to Spain, Italy and the U.K., to Egypt and South Africa, to Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Canada – called for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Marchers conveyed their messages with a variety of signs and slogans. In Melbourne, Australia, people held up placards reading, “Preemptive strikes are terrorism.” In Rome, where 1 million people marched, one sign read “Democracy is not exported with bombs.” In Baghdad, marchers said, “No to American terrorism. No to occupation.”
Demostrations in countries with troops promised for Iraq or already deployed, like South Korea, Japan, Poland, Italy and the U.K., called for their withdrawal. Many marchers hailed the recent elections in Spain, where the prime minister-elect ran on an antiwar platform, vowing to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq unless the UN take charge.
“This war is a mistake,” said Nicola Fortunato, 21, in Rome. “Madrid showed us what the results of a ‘preemptive war’ are.”
Protesters pointed to the lies told by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. London’s most famous tourist landmark, Big Ben, struck an antiwar note when two protesters from Greenpeace scaled up its clock face and unfurled a banner telling Blair that it was “Time for Truth.”
“So far all we’ve had are half-truths, evasions and sometimes downright lies,” a Greenpeace spokesperson said.
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