Millions around the world express opposition to U.S.-led strike against Iraq
Anti-war protests Saturday drew millions of people in cities around the world united in their opposition to a U.S.-led strike against Iraq.
London saw one of the largest marches for peace on a day of global protest — at least a million people, organizers claimed, although initial police estimates were about half that.
There was another huge turnout in Rome, where many in the crowd displayed rainbow "peace" flags. Police offered no estimate, but organizers claimed 3 million people participated.
Hundreds of thousands marched through Berlin, backing a strong anti-war stance spearheaded by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Police estimated the crowd at between 300,000 and 500,000.
In Syria, about 200,000 protesters marched through Damascus. In Bulgaria, Hungary, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia and Thailand, demonstrations attracted thousands, while the crowds were in the hundreds or less in Romania, Bosnia, Hong Kong, Indian-controlled Kashmir and Moscow.
Police estimated that 60,000 turned out in Oslo, Norway, 50,000 in Brussels, while about 35,000 gathered peacefully in Stockholm.
Crowds were estimated at 10,000 in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, 5,000 in Capetown and 4,000 in Johannesburg in South Africa, 5,000 in Tokyo, 3,000 in Vienna and 2,000 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Anti-war activists hoped to draw 100,000 people to the streets in New York City later for a protest near the United Nations. Police were planning extensive security that included sharpshooters and radiation detectors.
In Baghdad, according to AP, tens of thousands of Iraqis, many carrying Kalashnikovs, demonstrated across their country to support Saddam Hussein and denounce the United States.
In Ukraine, some 2,000 people rallied in Kiev's central square. In the Bosnian city of Mostar, about a hundred Muslims and Croats united for an anti-war protest.
Several thousand protesters marched in Athens, Greece. In the Greek port of Thessaloniki, an estimated 10,000 people protested.
About 2,000 demonstrators rallied in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital. In Moscow, 300 people marched to the U.S. Embassy.
Six hundred people rallied in downtown Hong Kong, as did 50 or so in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Police in Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir detained at least 35 protesters after about a hundred people, mostly supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), marched through the city.
The day of protest began in New Zealand, where thousands gathered in cities across the country.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 people marched through a suburb of Canberra, the Australian capital, to protest government support for U.S. policy.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)