Worldwide Protests after US Attack on Iraq
April 7, 2003
When the Washington began its attack on Iraq, the US media turned its attention to the war. Meanwhile, massive anti-invasion protests were erupting in Greece, Spain, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Lebanon, Bangladesh and the US.
WORLD CAPITALS (April 7, 2003) Islam Online – A sea of anti-war protestors took to the streets in different parts of the world Sunday, April 6, for the 18th consecutive day to protest the US-led war on Iraq.
In Greece, between as many as 4,000 people protested outside a key NATO naval base hosting US ships. Protestors threw stones and firebombs and erected a large banner reading: "No to war. Close down the base."
In Spain, at least 500,000 people gathered for a peace concert in Madrid. "Peace is with us, in homes, in streets, in parliament, in factories, in universities. No one will silence us," Spain's top anti-terrorist judge Baltasar Garzon told the crowd. Legal action has been initiated against the pro-Bush government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.
In Egypt, more than 10,000 crowded into a stadium in the city of Tanta to protest the war and called for a jihad against invading US and British forces. In an officially-sanctioned protest attended by the ruling National Democratic Party and several opposition parties, a crowd chanted anti-American and pro-Iraqi and pro-Palestinian slogans. In Khartoum, 2,000 Sudanese children, nearly all under the age of 10, marched to the United Nations offices where they handed in a message for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan demanding observance of the right to life for Iraqi and Palestinian children.
In Pakistan, hundreds of anti-war protesters shouting "death to America" took to the streets demanding protection of sacred Muslim sites in Iraq. The marchers carried banners reading "Bush and Blair: Enemies of Islam," "Stop bloodshed for oil" and "Stop attacks on the land of prophets." Some 500 people including lawyers, laborers, women, students of Islamic seminaries and religious scholars at a rally in Lahore torched effigies of US president George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In Indonesia, marchers carried a placard depicting Bush as the source of the lethal SARS virus. Thousands of Indonesians took part in anti-war protests in cities across the country. In Jakarta, 700 people rallied in front of the UN mission. In East Java, thousand supporters of the country's largest Islamic organization (with 40 million members) rallied in front of the city's main mosque. The government of Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-populated nation, has strongly criticized the war as an act of illegal aggression.
In India, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonald's have been hit by a series of attacks by Indian anti-war protesters. Sales have suffered from repeated calls for a boycott of American products. Maoist rebels attacked a Pepsi warehouse in Hyderabad and Coca-Cola depots in Andhra Pradesh state. In Calcutta, students smashed a store selling Nike running shoes. An estimated 10,000 anti-war protestors marched through Hyderabad, vowing to boycott Coca-Cola, Pepsi, pizzas and hamburgers. Hundreds of children rallied in Calcutta, urging a boycott of US and British goods.
In Lebanon, three people, including a young girl, were lightly wounded when a stick of dynamite exploded in a crowded McDonald's restaurant on the outskirts of Beirut.
In Bangladesh, around 30,000 people demonstrated in the city of Chittagong. The city’s mayor led the protestors through the streets shouting slogans against the US and Britain and torched effigies of Bush and Blair. The mayor hoisted black flags in memory of Iraqi civilians killed in the US-led bombings and threatened to raise Bangladeshi volunteers to fight for Iraq. Bangladesh, the world's third largest Muslim majority country, has repeatedly called for an end to the war.
In the US, a sea of anti-war demonstrators flooded Oakland, California, on Saturday to protest the US-led war. America should get its troops out of South America, Asia, and the Middle East and eliminate war as an option in international relations, legendary singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte told the crowd.