Millions of people in cities around the world hit the streets March 20 to protest the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. Massive demonstrations took place in London, Brussels, Seoul, Tokyo and thousands of other cities and towns in 45 countries. Demonstrations took place in more that 250 cities across the United States. Many of these demonstrations also demanded an end to the U.S./Israeli occupation of Palestine and an end to the occupation of Afghanistan.
In Saint Paul, Minnesota, more than 3000 people marched on the state capitol building. At the front of the march, a banner carried the demand to end the occupations of Iraq, Palestine, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. One of the groups organizing the protest, the Minneapolis-St. Paul-based Anti-War Committee, issued a statement condemning “Bush’s unilateralist doctrine of preemption, and the misery it has caused across the globe, from the overt attack and occupation of Iraq, to the continued financial underwriting of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, to direct military intervention against the people of Colombia and to the covert destabilization of Haiti and Venezuela.”
In Chicago, more than 10,000 people attended a rally called by the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism. Among the speakers was Colombian trade union leader, Luis Adolfo Cardona. Cardona slammed the occupation of Iraq and called for an end to U.S. intervention in Colombia.
A statement from the Colombia Action Network, distributed at the Chicago protest and at others around the country, noted, “Unfortunately, while the U.S. increased its attacks on Iraq, it also quietly escalated a conflict in another part of the world: Colombia. Since 2000, the U.S. has been funding a war against the Colombian people through its aid proposals entitled Plan Colombia. Colombia, after Israel and Egypt, is the third highest recipient of military aid from the U.S., and their government is using American tax dollars to kill trade unionists, human rights workers and civilians. This is a brutal effort by the U.S. government, just like in Iraq, to push forward another agenda determined by corporate economic interests.”
A massive demonstration in Los Angeles brought together tens of thousands of people. On March 18, Latinos Against the War held a press conference in front of Roosevelt High School. Students, parents, teachers and labor leaders spoke in support of the March 20 protests, against the occupation of Iraq and for dumping Bush this November.
In New York City, a massive crowd filled the streets. Early estimates of the size range well over 100,000 participants. “It was a sea of people,” said Deb Howze, the head of newspaper distribution for Fight Back! at the protest. “All over the world millions are saying no to the occupation of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. People everywhere are resisting the U.S. empire.”