Pressebericht / in: Workers World Service

10 million worldwide

Broadest protests yet expected on Feb. 15-16

von: John Catalinotto / WWP/ Pressebericht | Veröffentlicht am: 2. März 2003

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Feb. 15 is expected be the most widespread and massive day of anti-war protests in world history.

Mass demonstrations totaling up to 10 million participants will clog hundreds of cities, including the capitals of at least 60 countries.

They will reach from Cape Town to Cairo in Africa, include Ramallah and Tel Aviv in historic Palestine. They will close capitals in the European NATO countries, spur resistance in Eastern Europe, reach deep into Asia, Latin America, Oceania and the Pacific islands, and spread across all of North America.

Should the Bush-Rumsfeld-Cheney gang continue their arrogant plans to conquer Iraq, the U.S. leaders may turn a sea of human dissent into a tidal wave of resistance.

Even as this new world movement was catching its collective breath the week before the international day of protest, the struggle against the gathering U.S. war on Iraq continued.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, on Feb. 9, some 100,000 people marched to the U.S. Embassy and chanted, „Stop the war, save Iraq.“ In nearby Malaysia, an anti-war petition campaign collected 1 million signatures.

On Feb. 8 in Munich, Germany, where U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tried to whip the other NATO powers into line behind U.S. plans for aggression, some 30,000 people protested. Keynote protest speaker Tobias Pflueger was arrested for calling on members of the German armed forces to desert rather than obey unconstitutional orders to fly AWACS planes or otherwise back U.S. aggression against Iraq. He was released after three hours.

Direct action starts

Demonstrators moved toward direct action. At the port of Antwerp in Belgium some 250 people with the Stop USA coalition dodged police lines to confront U.S. elite military troops and equipment ready for shipment to the Gulf. „Hell no, don’t go, don’t kill for Texaco“ and „Yankee go home“ could be heard on the docks.

In the nearby Netherlands, a woman wielding a sledgehammer smashed a NATO satellite dish near the airbase at Volkel.

On the other side of the world, in New Zealand, anti-war protesters carrying ladders and mock metal detectors tried to climb a six-foot-high gate to storm the U.S. Embassy in Wellington. They said they were checking for „weapons of mass destruction owned and operated by the United States.“

In West Australia, some 75,000 workers in nine key labor unions have promised a campaign of industrial actions, including strikes and rallies, at the moment of a military strike on Iraq.

Greece’s powerful progressive movement, which showed its strength opposing NATO’s aggression on Yugoslavia in 1999, is poised for rallies in dozens of cities on Feb. 15. The All Workers Militant Front has called for a four-hour work stoppage on Feb. 14 to mobilize for the next day’s action.

Eight NATO minesweepers are to arrive in the Greek port of Patra from Feb. 28 to March 8. The local committee of the Greek peace movement has called for a general uprising in the region, so that Patra doesn’t become a base of operation for NATO.

The call for the Feb. 15 actions originated in Europe and was then endorsed by an international conference in Cairo. Some of the strongest protests will take place in the countries whose governments have expressed their support for and subservience to U.S. imperialism.

Up to a million people will march in London and more in Glasgow, Scotland. Rome is expecting an equally big crowd. Protests are planned in about 18 cities in the Spanish state.

Rebellion in the ‚new Europe‘

In the Eastern European countries where U.S. puppets and clients now rule, protesters are also raising their heads and being counted. Actions on Feb. 15 are set in Warsaw, Poland, and Prague, Czech Republic. In Budapest, Hungary, the police are trying to deny protesters the right to demonstrate.

On Feb. 6 the Slovakian regime in Bratislava tried to allocate funds to send 75 soldiers to fight alongside the Pentagon against Iraq. Communist Party deputies blocked voting in parliament for most of the day, and communists joined a picket by striking railroad workers to demand that the funds be used for the railroads instead.

Protests led by communists and other left forces are also expected also in Kiev, Ukraine, and Moscow, Russia.

Mass actions are also set throughout South America and the Caribbean, from Buenos Aires and Sao Paolo to Kingston, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. In Kingston, the protesters are warming up by picketing a Jamaica-U.S. soccer match at the National Stadium.

In Asia, protests are expected in at least 35 cities, including Tokyo and Seoul, South Korea, where many U.S. soldiers are based.

In what could be an important political development for China, a group of well-known Chinese scholars, writers and artists has initiated a petition against the war that is being widely circulated on the Internet. It firmly opposes „the adoption of any resolution by the UN Security Council which may give rise to the appearance of UN endorsement of this war of aggression“ and calls on Chinese everywhere „to stand united against this war in the best anti-imperialist and anti-hegemonist tradition of the Chinese people, and join the rising tide of the global anti-war movement.“

Reprinted from the Feb. 20, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper

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