March 18th London Antiwar Demo

March 18 London Antiwar

Thousands of anti-war protesters turned out for a demonstration in central London calling for British troops to leave Iraq.

Police put the number attending at 15,000, but organisers said between 80,000 and 100,000 were at the rally.

It marked three years since the start of the conflict and was organised by CND, Stop The War Coalition, and the Muslim Association of Britain.

Protests were also held in other cities across the world.

They included Baghdad, Basra, New York, Madrid, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto and Dublin.
(Source: BBC News)

(I’ve now been up for twenty hours with four hours of sleep previous to that so forgive me if this post is more incoherent than normal.)

Today’s demonstration in London was amazing. It was amazing because of the spirit of the thing: this was a postive march and rally, concentrating on the ideals of peace amongst all peoples. Every speaker I heard at Trafalgar Square emphasised those points. Even the devoutly religious ones stressed how important it was for the peace movement to cut across all the boundaries and niches the warmongers promote. And by warmongers, I mean Bin Laden and Bush. Both preach fear and hatred of the other to cement their power bases.

As for numbers, well, we’ve been over this ground many times in the last three years. Hundreds of thousands of people wind through the streets of London and yet, every time, the good old Met only manage to spot three hippies and an eco-rickshaw. As I’ve said before, I find it suspicious that we never see aerial footage of antiwar demos any more. They used to show it but I think it looked too impressive and so… gone.

All I can say is that we took a hell of a long time to wind a relatively short distance. Comparing the feel of this with other marches, I would have guessed maybe 150,000 to maybe 200,000 at a push. But for the police to claim 15,000 is, as usual, taking the piss.

The global antiwar movement is nimble, ready and well-organised. Today’s march and rally, linked with the others worldwide, proved that once again. If you could have been with me when we streamed into Trafalgar Square, you would have felt the power of this movement. This is a mass movement: thousands upon thousands of ordinary people caught buses, coaches and trains down for this demo, gave up their time and money to protest our illegal invasion and continued occupation of Iraq.

But we were also warning Blair and Bush that should they try to move against Iran, we’ll be there again.

It’s high time our governments remembered that their sole purpose is to serve our will, not the reverse.

Click here for the piccies!