Thousands oppose war on Iraq

Issue 

BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE

HOBART — In
the largest of several anti-war protests held around the country, 2000
people marched through the Tasmanian state capital on November 2. Green
triangles, Socialist Alliance “No war on Iraq” placards, union flags and
countless personal displays of opposition to a war against Iraq flooded
the streets.

Speakers at the protest included Julie Green from the socialist youth
organisation Resistance, who denounced the dishonest excuses for war, such
as British Prime Minister Tony Blair's “dossier of fiction”, Salvadoran
peace activist Rene Aragon and Quaker Peace and Justice Committee member
Peter Jones.

“Do you think the 45,000 people who marched in Melbourne a few weeks
ago believed the lies?”, Green asked the crowd as it gathered in Franklin
Square. “No”, they yelled. “Did the 200,000 people who marched in Washington
last weekend believe the lies?” “No”, the crowd yelled. “Do we here today
believe the lies?”, she asked. “No”, the crowd yelled again.

The rally and march was organised by the union-initiated Peace Coalition,
which is a broad umbrella group campaigning against a war on Iraq. It was
the largest anti-war rally in Hobart since the 1991 Gulf War.

Around 1000 people rallied in Adelaide on November 2, reports
Luke Smith. The rally was the second organised by the Network Opposing
War and Racism collective in the space of a month, reflecting the urgency
felt within the movement to take to the streets and keep the pressure on
the Australian government not to join a US/UN war on Iraq.

Led by drummers and singers, the colourful protest marched to Parliament
House and drew people from across the spectrum of the anti-war movement.

David Scrimgeour, from the Medical Association for the Prevention of
War, pointed out that a war on Iraq would kill many civilians. Senator
Andrew Bartlett, federal leader of the Australian Democrats, contrasted
the defence budget to the ever-diminishing amount of funding dedicated
to foreign aid. He opposed the federal government's legislation to increase
ASIO's powers.

The Greens' Patricia Murray criticised the “war on terrorism” and pointed
out that “injustice and poverty create the seeds of terrorism”. A war on
Iraq will not end terrorism, she predicted.

Socialist Alliance speaker Ben Standing made an emotional speech that
explained the links between capitalism and war: “We need a system that
doesn't reward greed and hatred. We need to fundamentally change the way
our society is run. From wealth for a few, to equality for all. I don't
think it is an impossible task”, Standing declared.

Jim McIlroy reports from Brisbane that more than 1000 people
rallied in King George Square on October 27. The rally, initiated by Brisbane
Lord Mayor Jim Soorley, was co-sponsored by peace and social justice groups,
the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU), church groups, the Ethnic Communities
Council, Rally for Peace, the Brisbane Stop the War Coalition, the Queensland
Greens, University of Queensland Student Union and Queensland Young Labor.

Greens Senator Bob Brown gave an impassioned address, calling for a
world based on meeting human rights and needs, not war and profit.

“No to war, yes to understanding and solving the problems of the world,
and promoting justice and peace”, Soorley said. QCU secretary Grace Grace
declared that “peace is always an issue for workers” because “workers and
their families always bear the burden of war, emotionally and economically”.

Terry Symonds, from Brisbane Stop the War Coalition, attacked the US
and Australian governments' push for war against Iraq as a plan for complete
control over Middle Eastern oil.

From Green Left Weekly, November 6, 2002.

Visit the Green Left Weekly
home page.
 

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left, a vital social-change project, makes its online content available without paywalls. But with no corporate sponsors, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month we’ll send you the digital edition each week. For $10, you’ll get the digital and hard copy edition delivered. For $20 per month, your solidarity goes a long way to helping the project survive.

Ring 1800 634 206 or click the support links below to make a secure payment.