On Saturday Catalonia marched to the slogan "Stop the war". Various towns and cities had their biggest ever demonstrations, including Gerona (40,000 – nearly half the population?!) but they were all dwarfed by the estimated 1.3 million who took over the centre of Barcelona. It was amazing.
15 February. No to war in Iraq. cwi reports from around the world. Spain.
Millions march in Spain
You got an idea of what was going to happen on the way. I live in a town called Granollers, about 20 miles to the north. When I arrived at the station hundreds of people were queuing for tickets. It became obvious everybody wouldn’t get one before the train arrived. So, in the end they just stormed through the barriers, brushing the two security guys aside!
The train arrived and filled to overflowing. At the next station hundreds more people were waiting on the platform. And the next. I don’t know if they all made it in the end.
In Barcelona itself the main street allocated for the march filled with people. Thousands joined the back, unable to move anywhere, so thousands more took over the neighbouring streets and headed for the front. The speakers kept appealing for them move to let the next wave get near to the platform. This went on for three to four hours.
The marchers were all ages, from babies to grannies, and different nationalities, reflecting Barcelona’s population mix and giving it an international flavour. The banners, placcards, T-shirts, stickers and badges – many home-made – showed why they were all there: "Stop the War" and "No war for oil". With a touch of black humour, one read "If you want oil, go to Galicia" -a reference to the sunken oil tanker, the Prestige, and the polluted coast! The manifesto read out also made it clear no-one is interested in UN resolutions. No war, full stop.
Despite the massive opposition to any invasion of Iraq we saw yesterday in Barcelona and across Spain – possibly 2 million marched in Madrid – Aznar and his Foreign Minister Ana Palacio made it clear today they are backing Bush. So what next? Well, if the invasion does go ahead, some people are talking of striking. I’m sure we’ll see some school students and workers doing that here. In fact last Thursday thousands of school students took part in protests called by the Students’Union. The slogan in Barcelona was "Not one soldier, not one euro, not one bullet for imperialist war!" And on Friday the unions on the underground and buses organised a five-minute stoppage against the war. If the government isn’t prepared to take notice of the magnificent demonstrations we had at the weekend, then I think we have to increase the pressure. Lets see what they say if we bring everything to a halt!