Some 100,000 to Protest in London Two Years after Iraq Invasion
"We need help to make this demonstration as big as possible" the action group, which organised the rally, Stop The War Coalition, said on its website.
"With rumours of an attack on Iran in June and the demonstration being a matter of weeks before the general election it would be fantastic to have many hundreds of thousands of people expressing their anti-war sentiment," it said.
A spokesman for the coalition told AFP that at least 100,000 people were expected to take part, noting that the march would pass in front of America's embassy in Grosvenor Square where the organisers planned to deposit the coffin.
It will be the first mass demonstration outside the building since it became a flashpoint of anti-Vietnam War protests in 1968, the organisers said.
And Washington's recent nomination of key Iraq-war planner Paul Wolfowitz as chairman of the World Bank had hardeneded people's US resentment, they added.
"One might have expected a little humility from the Bush administration after its destruction and occupation of Iraq," convenor Lindsey German said.
"However, the nomination of Wolfowitz, the man who is recognised as chief architect of war with Iraq, will outrage most decent people."
A fine spring day, with the sun bursting out of a clear blue sky, will likely boost numbers at Britain's 11th rally against the Iraq invasion -- which began on March 20, 2003 -- and coaches have been booked to ferry people to London from across the country.
Member of Parliament George Galloway, who is also due to speak, said recent meetings he had attended around Britian showed there was still massive opposition to the nation's involvement in Iraq.
"The demonstration will form the backdrop to the election and we will not rest until we have forced the prime minister to withdraw our forces from Iraq," he said, referring to a general election that is widely expected on May 5.
Protesters have set up a "peace camp" in Trafalgar Square, which is down the road from the Houses of Parliament, as part of preparations for the demonstration, which is also supported by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmement (CND).
"This peace camp will reflect our message that there is a peaceful alternative to the violent, aggressive, warmongering policies that led to the war on Iraq and the deaths of thousands of innocent people," said CND chairwoman Kate Hudson.
"We are calling for an end to the ongoing bloody occupation of Iraq, but we are also asking the question -- where next Mr (US President George W) Bush?"
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Over 725 Protests Planned to Mark Second Anniversary of Iraq Invasion
Friday 18 March 2005
More than 725 anti-war protests and events are scheduled across the country on March 19th to mark the second anniversary of the invasion Iraq. We hear from organizers around the country who describe what is happening in their communities. [includes rush transcript]
Saturday, March 19th, marks the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion.
More than 725 anti-war protests and events are scheduled across the country to mark the anniversary. United For Peace and Justice reports this is more than double the number of actions that took place a year ago to mark the first anniversary of the war.
One of the largest rallies is expected to take place in Fayetteville, North Carolina outside the military base Fort Bragg. Main sponsors of that protest include Veterans For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out. Yesterday we spoke with organizers around the country to get a sense of what is happening in their communities.
Voices of Dissent, protests organizers around the U.S., describe what is happening in their communities on March 19, 2005.
AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday, Yoruba Richen, one of our producers, spoke with organizers around the country to get a sense of what was happening in their communities.
LOU PLUMMER: My name is Lou Plummer, and I'm a member of Military Families Speak Out. I live in Fayetteville, North Carolina, right outside of Ft. Bragg. On Saturday, March 19, we are having a rally that's sponsored by Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the Gold Star Families for Peace. This will be a rally, of course, marking the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and there are approximately 20,000 to 25,000 people from our community who have been in Iraq. A great many of them were -- didn't come away with that, with a big warm, fuzzy feeling inside, so we organized this event as veterans and members of military families to give people an opportunity to speak their opposition with the added ingredient that there are people who have been to Iraq and who have seen what's going on there firsthand.
BOB KRZEWINSKI: My name is Bob Krzewinski with Veterans for Peace for Southeast Michigan. We're going to have our Arlington Midwest display of one cross for every dead soldier killed in Iraq. It'll be on Saturday at Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit. This is Bob Krzewinski of Veterans for Peace of Southeast Michigan. We're going to be having our Arlington Midwest display of one cross for every soldier killed in Iraq. This will be in downtown Detroit at Grand Circus Park on Saturday and in Ann Arbor at the university central campus on Sunday.
BILL HACKWELL: My name is Bill Hackwell. I'm with the ANSWER Coalition in San Francisco. On the 19th, this Saturday, which is the second anniversary of the illegal war against Iraq, tens of thousands of people are expected in San Francisco. We're having an opening rally at the Dolores Park, the traditional spot of anti-war rallies in San Francisco in the Mission. After that, we'll be marching down to the Civic Center where there will be a following rally. Significant in this year is that we're starting to see sort of a groundswell of grassroots organizations who haven't always come out for the anti-war marches, maybe have supported it, but haven't come out in numbers.
FRIDA BERRIGAN: I'm Frida Berrigan. I'm with the War Resisters League, a local organization in Manhattan and Brooklyn. And we're organizing funeral processions to recruiting stations around the city. In Manhattan, we'll be meeting in the morning at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza and carrying coffins representing Iraqi and American victims of the war. We'll be carrying those coffins along 42nd Street to the Times Square recruiting station where some of our participants will commit civil disobedience and block the doors of the recruiting station. Simultaneously, actions will happen in Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue and in the Bronx on Fordham Road. In both locations there are military recruiting stations, and activists will be carrying coffins and photographs of Iraqi and American victims of the war.
PHUNG VO: This is Phung Vo. I'm calling from Toledo, Ohio. On the anniversary of - the second anniversary of the Iraq war, the organization Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition is going to set up an event called Arlington Midwest at the University of Toledo, where we put over 1,500 tombstones with the names of the American fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq at the campus of University of Toledo.
BRIAN STEWART: Hi, this is Brian Stewart. I'm with Work for Peace in Downeast Maine, and on Saturday, we're doing a teach-in at the university. And Sunday, we're putting up 100-mile memorial along the highways of Downeast Maine, remembering the names of people who have been killed in Iraq.
EDWINA VOGAN: This is Edwina Vogan from Phoenix, Arizona. And there are two events, two of several, actually, but one is Saturday morning by the Department of Peace in downtown Phoenix; and then, the other one is Saturday afternoon between 5:00 and 7:00, and it's by the Arizona Alliance of Peaceful Justice, and it's a candlelight vigil and memorial service. And it's to remember the war dead in Iraq, and that's because it was an illegal war based on lies and deception.
LEE HUGHES: Hi. This is Lee Hughes. I'm from Act Now, which is in Australia in Cambra, and this Saturday, on March 19, we'll be protesting against, you know, the war in Iraq and reminding people that two years on from the invasion, Australians still oppose the war. We think that with 100,000 Iraqis dead, and the U.S. just moving further and further away from actually bringing democracy to Iraq, we should bring the troops home and, you know, we should let Iraqis rebuild their own country.
AMY GOODMAN: Voices of dissent on this eve of the invasion of Iraq, the second anniversary of the invasion