70,000 people turned up at the Amsterdam demonstration against the war, called by the Platform Against the New War. This is a coalition of two hundred small, and some big, organisations. It includes the Socialist Party (a broad Left party) and Offensief, the Dutch section of the CWI. The platform was established during the war against Afghanistan, but then it was not able to attract so many people.
15 February. No to war in Iraq. cwi reports from around the world. Netherlands.
70,000 protesters in Amsterdam
Most of the demonstrators working class, youth and also activists from the different participation organisations. The mood was friendly and reminded many of the older people of the anti-nuclear demonstrations of the Eighties. The songs and chants, etc. were not very militant and many demonstrators have illusions in the UN but of course this can change very rapidly when war starts. At the moment, 75% of the population is against military intervention.
A group called Americans Against the War took part in the Amsterdam protest, which attracted quite some publicity, as well as different groups of migrants (including from Turkey, Marocco, Iraq, Iran).
The Socialist Party, in which Offensief has a presence, mobilised very enthusiastically for the demonstration and even organised coaches. Although the social democratic Labour Party did not support the demonstration, it was clear that many of their sympathisers did. The Labour Party is involved in talks about forming a coalition governement with the right wing Christian Democrats and does not want to ’rock the boat’.
Offensief members sold a new paper on the protest. This was not easy considering the large amount of material that was distributed freely. Still we were able to sell around 175 papers, which also advertised our public meeting on the war build up, and at least one person joined us on the day.