Reports and pictures from CWI members around the world posted on 16 and 17 February.
International day of protest
The world marches against war and imperialism
Millions of people, well over 11 million according to US based news agency CNN, poured onto the streets of cities and towns and villages, around the world on 15 February in protest against Bush’s war plans (see list of anti-war demonstrations, millions demonstrate against the war). No more proof is needed to show that this is the most unpopular war ever.
Biggest demonstrations in history – ‘Stop work to stop the war!’
Yesterday’s anti-war rally in Melbourne was the biggest demonstration in the history of Australia. Over 200,000 people rallied outside the State Library at 5pm to hear speakers and then they had to wait over an hour before they could actually find space to move on to Federation Square, 1km to the south, to hear more speakers and live music.
30,000 in Vienna shakes establishment parties
The Vienna anti-war demo saw at least 30,000 people marching. Given the relative low importance of Austria in international relations, this is a huge number; despite the weak programme of the broad anti-war-alliance.
100,000 demonstrators in Brussels
The Belgian anti-war demo in Brussels was huge. While previous mobilisations had 10,000 at most, there now were a lot more. The police spoke about 50,000, but it was more, probably even double the police figure!
Geert Cool, Gent
Tens of thousands march in Sao Paulo
The February 15 march in Brazil was larger than similar ones in the past against the 1991 Gulf War or the Afghanistan war.
Socialismo Revolucionario (SR), the Brazilian section of the CWI
Manifestações contra a guerra no Brasil
As manifestações de 15 de fevereiro no Brasil foram as maiores em comparação com situações semelhantes, como a guerra do golfo em 1991 ou a guerra contra o Afeganistão.
Socialismo Revolucionario (SR), the Brazilian section of the CWI
50,000 flood Toronto
An estimated 50,000 people flooded Toronto’s Dundas Square and the surrounding streets of the city’s busiest intersection.
Andy Lehrer, Toronto
Significant mass protests in Russia and the Ukraine
Moscow CWI comrades were instrumental in initiating and organising a youth march through the city centre on 15 February. In the biggest such demo for years over 300 participated, led by a mock coffin and huge banner saying "No war for oil". CWI members were prominent amongst speakers and marchers. The march called not only for an end to the war in Iraq but also Chechnya.
Prague demonstrations show opposition to war
As "our" government supports every decision of the US administration, and former president Havel signed the letter of "eight", expressing complete support for the Bush-Iraq policy, people feel not just betrayed but angry. That is reason why so many people joined today’s protests which for the Czech Republic were quite large.
Vašek Votruba, Prague
Thousands demonstrate in Oulu
In the city of Oulu, in Finland, the CWI participated on the February 15th demonstration as part of the Youth against the War campaign.
Jari-Pekka Raitamaa, CWI-Finland
Growing anti-war mood sees 300,000 demonstrate in Paris
In the last three days of last week the anti-war mood in France snowballed. If asked in the week before the demonstration, most political activists would have said that 150,000 would demonstrate in Paris. It turned out that over 300,000 marched. The total participation in protests throughout France was over 500,000.
CWI online spoke to Alex Rouillard in Rouen
500,000 protest in Berlin
Saturday saw the biggest anti-war demonstration in Germany for decades. Five hundred thousand from all over the country took to the streets of Berlin and paralysed the historical area from Alexanderplatz in the East of the city via the Brandenburg Gate to the Siegessäule (a monument which was built to commemorate Prussia’s victory over France in 1871) in the West. Six hundred buses came to Berlin -150 from Hamburg alone. Another 50,000 demonstrated in the southern German city of Stuttgart.
Sascha Stanicic, Berlin
Biggest demonstrations in 25 years
Yesterday, as all over the world, Greece saw enormous anti war demonstrations.
Christine Ziaka and Dimitris Pantazopoulos, Athens
80% in Japan against war
There was an anti-war demonstration in Osaka yesterday. The organisers claimed 1,500. It was a very good demonstration and march. The atmosphere was good – lots of youth and, surprisingly, a very large percentage of foreigners, mostly westerners but some Asians and people form the Middle East. Those present ranged from the Christians, through a few anarchists and small left groups to, most significantly, largeish contingents from the dockworkers and cement workers as well as a group of homeless workers organized in their own union.
Anti-Bush protests held in Occupied Kashmir
The international day of protest against war on Iraq was observed in Indian Occupied and Pakistani Occupied Kashmir. According to media reports over 2,000 people demonstrated against the war in Srinagar (capital of Indian Occupied Kashmir), including various organisations including trade unions, Left political parties and non-governmental organisations.
CWI members in Kashmir
Two million march shakes Blair government
Around two million participated in the anti-war activities in London on 15 February: making it the largest political demonstration in British history.
Ken Smith, Socialist Party England and Wales
Strike against the war
IT WAS a global revolt without precedent by the people against their political ’masters’. The worldwide anti-war protests on 15-16 February resounded with one voice to say ’No War’.
Editorial from The Socialist plus reports from the London protest
CWI online, London
70,000 protesters in Amsterdam
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.
Ron Blom, Offensief, Netherlands
Tens of thousands march across North and South Islands
The international day of protest against George Bush’s war for oil kicked off in New Zealand, where protests took place in more than 10 cities around the country.
Johan Sand, Socialist Alternative, Dunedin
Fire fighters lead 20,000 strong Belfast demonstration
Twenty thousand joined the anti-war demonstration in Belfast. It was organised by the Stop the War Coalition, a broad and loose group co-ordinated by the trade unions and including the Socialist Party, Socialist Youth and Youth Against The War. Pride of place at the front of the march was given to the fire service workers, who have been taking strike action recently. Behind them came the trade unions, Left political groups and a range of other organisations. Many people arrived with their own banners and placards.
Peter Hadden, Belfast
Warsaw demonstrates in its thousands
Poland, which has one of the most pro-Bush governments of Eastern Europe, saw two anti-war demonstrations on the 15 February: one in Gdansk and the biggest one in Warsaw.
Karl Debbaut, Warsaw
Biggest demonstration since 1974 revolution
Lisbon saw one of biggest demos since the 1974 revolution (which overthrew the fascist regime), when more the 100,000 protesters took to the take the streets against the war on Iraq.
Maior Manifestação desde a revolução de 74
Lisboa assistiu a uma das maiores manifestações desde a revolução de 1974 quando mais de 100.000 saíram às ruas contra a guerra contra o Iraque.
Republic of Ireland
Biggest protest in 20 years
15 February was an historic day in Ireland. The anti-war demonstration in Dublin was not the biggest in Irish history (in 1979 the trade unions held a march of over 300,000 in Dublin demanding tax reform) but it was one of the biggest and its political significance cannot be understated.
Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party, Dublin
80,000 protest as Blair addresses Scottish Labour conference
At least 80,000 people marched in the biggest demonstration Scotland has seen in 30 years. They came from all corners of the country, from the Islands to the cities to the smallest towns and villages. Firefighters, trade unionists, peace campaigners, pensioners, young people by the thousand thronged onto Glasgow Green. Whole families came out to protest, many of them never having attended a demonstration before. The Muslim community was out in strength as were political activists from the SNP, the Lib Dems the Labour Party and the Scottish Socialist Party.
Philip Stott, Dundee
Thousands demonstrate in three cities against war
Anti-war activists made their contribution to the worldwide opposition to the impending US war on Iraq in three demonstrations in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town on 15 February.
Weizmann Hamilton, Johannesburg
Millions march in Spain
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.
Chris Ridge, Granollers
80,000 march in Stockholm
In the biggest demonstrations in Sweden for many decades, 80,000 marched in Stockhom, 30,000 in Gothenburg and 2,700 in Umeå. In total, there were demos in around 40 cities. All over the country, the demos were dominated by youth and had a strong Left wing flavour.
Per-Ake and Marcus, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna, Stockholm
Half a million protest against war in New York
Today’s anti-war protests in the US and around the world were massive, in many places the largest protests in decades and the largest anti-war protests since the Vietnam War. In total, there were demonstrations in 150 cities and towns throughout the US.
Philip Locker, Seattle, WA and Bryan, New York City