Activists prepare 'welcome' for Blair


Amy McDonnell, Canberra

Anti-war activists are gearing up to "welcome" British PM Tony Blair to Australia. The ACT Network Opposing War (ACTNOW) is starting to organise a protest outside Parliament House in Canberra, to be held when the pro-war leader addresses a joint sitting of the Australian parliament in March.

Blair played a key role in promulgating the fictitious "weapons of mass destruction" line, a justification for the "coalition of the willing" to invade Iraq on March 20, 2003. On September 24, 2002, Blair famously claimed that "[Saddam] has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes". Blair's Labour government lost support as a result of its pro-war stand, losing 99 seats in the 2005 general election.

The anti-Blair protest is expected to attract activists from around the country, many of whom will have just taken part in global protests on March 17-20 to mark the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Nick Everett from ACTNOW told Green Left Weekly that, while the exact date of Blair's visit was not yet known, the protest is being organised for 10.30am on the day of Blair's parliamentary address. "We invite everyone to come along to give this warmonger the welcome he deserves."

From Green Left Weekly, January 25, 2006.
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