Australia's troop commitment protested

Issue 

BY ALISON DELLIT

Protesters in many cities reacted to the events of March 18 — the announcement by PM John Howard that Australian troops had been committed to a war against Iraq, and US President George Bush's designed-to-fail ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. The largest protests were in Perth, where 2000 protested, and Adelaide's 500-strong protest.

"The protest exceeded our wildest expectations!", protest organiser Nikki Ulasowski told Green Left Weekly. "Despite the short notice, everything went incredibly smoothly: friendly people in the city council organised access to electricity for us, a friendly PA company gave us the free use of a PA system."

Protesters, joined by Greens MLCs who deserted parliament to join in, marched to US consulate where they protested for an hour.

"The spontaneous crowd was passionate, loud, and articulate in its outright rejection of the war drive, with or without UN approval", Adelaide protester Emma Murphy told Green Left Weekly. The protest was attended by many high school students, with organised contingents from Mitcham High, Woodville High and Urrbrae Students Against War.

Other visible contingents also included the Australian Education Union, Australian Services Union, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance, Network Opposing War and Racism and the Democrats.

In Sydney, the Socialist Alliance organised a snap action at 4pm, attended by 250 people. In Hobart, 150 people protested.

From Green Left Weekly, March 26, 2003.
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