Iraq: 15 February – Switzerland – Largest demonstration since 1945

15 February. No to war in Iraq. cwi reports from around the world. Switzerland

Largest demonstration since 1945

40,000 were in Bern, Switzerland on the anti-war protests of February 15. This was the largest demo in Switzerland since 1945 and far more than the organisers had expected.

The rally took place in a square that was too small, and the march itself had been routed through the narrow medieval city centre. The PA system was inadequate; stewards kept asking marchers to leave the rally so that people behind them could hear the speakers.

Such was the last-minute demand to participate, that the Basel committee, having originally reserved a couple of carriages on the regular Bern service, had to book a special train. And yet I had not seen a single leaflet or poster in Basel advertising the march.

French-speaking Swiss, who are 20% of the general population, were a far bigger proportion of the marchers.

There were lots of chants of ‘Down with Bush’, ‘Solidarity’ etc, but no leaflet apart from those of the CWI put forward concrete demands or guidance on how to stop the war.

On Day X there will be demos in every major city, with another national demo on the following Saturday.

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February 2003