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Up to 20,000 march against 'war on terror'
3 March 2002
A lively, diverse and determined gathering of 20,000 marched through central London on 2 March, in the third major national anti-war demonstration since the US and Britain launched the military assault on Afghanistan on 7 October.
The demonstration, organised by the Stop the War Coalition and backed by CND, heard Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German say:
"The ever-expanding war against terrorism is a war of lies and hypocrisy. Events in Afghanistan and elsewhere, not to mention George Bush's frightening axis of evil speech, have confirmed many of our worst fears.
Bush and Blair claim that they must attack Iraq in order to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, but it is the US and its allies which have repeatedly deployed weapons of mass destruction from the sanctions against Iraq that have taken hundreds of thousands of lives to the 'daisy-cutters' that have rained death upon Afghanistan to the space-based nukes of NMD that now threaten our planet.
At a time when the war in Afghanistan has largely vanished from the front pages, the turn-out today is especially significant, and should serve as a warning to the government. Public opposition to Bush and Blair's war is definitely on the rise. We are determined to continue to organise the broadest possible opposition to this dangerous and unjust war.
The message from today s demonstration is clear: as long as Bush and Blair sustain their pro-war coalition, our Coalition will campaign to stop them."
She called on the demonstrators to return to London for the CND march on 30 March, which is being backed by the Stop the War Coalition.
Other speakers in Trafalgar Square included Tony Benn, human rights lawyer Louise Christian, MPs Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway, journalist Yvonne Ridley, NATFHE general secretary Paul Mackney, writer Tariq Ali, and representatives of Muslims for Just Peace, Kurdish and Palestinian organisations.
Among the protesters at the demonstration were contingents representing many trades unions, community and civil rights groups, peace organisations, local Stop the War Coalitions, Media Workers Against the War, Artists Against the War, Muslims for Just Peace, the Jewish Socialist Group, Kurdish, Palestinian and Colombian organisations, as well as a wide variety of political groups. Coaches brought protesters to London from Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Bradford, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol, Portsmouth, Blackburn, Plymouth, Southampton, Gloucester, Milton Keynes, York, Bury, Basildon, Chesterfield, Huddersfield and elsewhere.
Stop the War Coalition media release, London, England