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Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 11:59:01 -0600
Message-Id: <199711221759.LAA02030@radish.interlink-bbs.com>
From: alghassa@sol.racsa.co.cr
Reply-To: Iraq-l@interlink-bbs.com
To: Iraq-l@interlink-bbs.com
Subject: IRQ-REPORT: Antiwar protests rock UK and US

Antiwar protests rock UK and US

By John Catalinotto, Workers World Service, Friday 21 November 1997

Antiwar activists in the US and UK made rapid response demonstrations to the Clinton administration’s attempts to whip up an anti-Iraq war fever.

Around 200 protesters angrily besieged the US Embassy in London,Wednesday evening, demanding an immediate end to the military threats by the US and Britain against Iraq. Passers-by expressed support for the demonstrators, who gave a clear and forceful warning of the depth of feeling among many sections of public opinion against the US aggressive policies to which the British government has been so spectacularly subservient.

Media from around the world, including Middle Eastern and US television stations, relayed the news of this significant protest around many countries of the world, where it will certainly make an impact on public opinion elsewhere as well, showing that the Blair government’s stance is not the view of the ordinary people of Britain, who desire peace and the immediate lifting of the sanctions blockade on Iraq.

Protesters had come from many areas, including Cambridge, Sussex, Birmingham and elsewhere in Britain, and representatives of a number of community, political and religious organisations were in attendance. Messages of greetings were received from public figures including Tony Benn MP and George Galloway MP, and among those present were members of the Labour Party, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and community groups including the Indian Workers’ Association (GB) and the South Islington Bangla Desh Association.

Many of those in attendance were trades unionists, including members of the Transport and General Workers Union, the Amalgamated Electricians’ Union, the National Union of Journalists, UNISON, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, the First Division Association, the National Union of Railwaymen, etc., as well as members of local Trades Councils, including those of Brent, and Hammersmith and Fulham. Also present were members of the Darvell Bruderhof and Beechgrove Bruderhof, and the Nation of Islam. Notable among those attending the protest were representatives of the Iraqi and other Arab communities living in London. A deputation of children from Iraqi families delivered a protest letter addressed to President Clinton to embassy officials.

In the U.S. anti-war groups took to the streets Nov. 17-19 to demonstrate in 15 American cities in broad cooperation despite ideological differences.

On Nov. 17, demonstrators in downtown Baltimore carried signs reading Fight racism and police brutality, not Iraq. Organizer Sharon Ceci said: Responses to the 700 leaflets we handed out were all positive. Most simply thanked the picketers for being there.

In Boston the same day, people came from as far as 50 miles away—the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Some brought hand-lettered signs. Many passersby expressed their support for the anti-war action, reports Mahtowin. Two homeless men—both of them Vietnam veterans—stopped to read the fliers. One said, ‘We sure don’t want to see anyone else get suckered like we did.’

Vice President Al Gore was in Cleveland Nov. 17. He became a target of the protesters, who braved an early Midwestern winter to picket the federal building. One of the chants, said Martha Grevatt, was Hey Bill Clinton, hey Al Gore, we don’t want another war.

The New York demonstration in Times Square, also on Nov. 17, drew activists from many groups. It also included people who heard it announced on the radio or joined it from the streets. IAC organizers called for a united front of all those opposing U.S. war plans. One New York participant was a Swedish veteran of the UN Peacekeeping Force stationed in northern Iraq. He had been wounded there by the Iraqi army, but his first-hand knowledge of how the Iraqis were suffering made him sympathetic to them.

The next day in Washington, people from the IAC, the Peace Center and the Nicaragua Network defied the cops to demonstrate at the White House. A protest at the downtown federal building in Los Angeles drew representatives from the Islamic Public Affairs Council, American Friends Service Committee (Pasadena), Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba, and Palestinian and Egyptian activists.

According to the IAC, protests were also heldinMadison, Wis., Chicago, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Honolulu and Houston. andSan Francisco