Today I went on another anti-war protest in London. This time, it was also protesting the illegal occupation of Iraq by USK forces. Click here for pics.
Typically, the media coverage was poor to nonexistent. Sky News gave the most time. BBC News at 10 didn’t even mention the demo once. Apparently, tens of thousands of people gathering in London to protest against the government isn’t as important as where Wimbledon FC are based.
But back to those figures. The Met Police started off by saying that around 10,000 people were on the demo. Later they generously revised this up to 20,000. The organisers claim around 100,000. The truth? Well, I’d say at least 70,000 plus. I’m basing this on my experiences of the other demos. Today’s march was definitely bigger than the one in April, I’d say it was around the amount in March. So, as usual, don’t believe the yellow media’s estimates of numbers. When it even bothers to give them, that is.
Have a look at this photo:
I couldn’t get quite high enough but if you look towards the middle left of the pic, you can see where the road is rising and converging – full of masses of people. And, as with previous anti-war marches, this wasn’t a temporary crowd. People were streaming through there at that density for at least an hour. How do I know? Because once we arrived at Trafalgar Square, that’s how long the people were streaming in behind us. In fact, when we left, marchers were still arriving. The only reason the square didn’t overflow is that earlier arrivees started heading for home because, like us, they were knackered.
But enough of facts and figures! What was today really about? Well, I think Stop The War should have called this protest the ‘We Bloody Told You So, Didn’t We?’ march. Okay, a bit big for badges maybe.
Remember Feb 15th? Remember New Labour apparatchiks saying that we, the peaceful demonstrators, would be responsible for the deaths that Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destructions would bring. We were misguided fools appeasing a dangerous dictator, they said. Saddam was a new Hitler, with a stunning buildup of WMDs, all pointed at Britain. 45 minutes…
Now, who was right, eh? USK forces first bombed Iraq flat and then occupied it. Did they find any WMDs? No. Were we right when we marched and sang and drummed and shouted that everything Bush and Blair said was a sham?
History will declare that the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq was the first action in America’s enactment of its Project for a New American Century. Not to depose a dictator, not merely to secure access to oil (although that’s handy) but to sound out a clear message to the world: WE’RE NUMBER ONE! Now the Soviet Bear is slain, nothing stands in the way of the American Empire.
Nothing but millions of ordinary people. Nothing but us.
While I was marching in protest of US occupation, the benevolent liberators of Iraq outdid themselves. They shot and killed five Iraqis, all civilians, all unarmed. Their crime? To be travelling in their own country and of being unfamiliar with US English being barked at them. For that, they were killed.
The US Army did liberate these Iraqis. They liberated them from life.