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Don't Attack Iraq Actions Across Country

indymedia | 31.10.2002 00:00 No War Day of Action | Anti-militarism | Iraq

Don't Attack Iraq Actions Across Country

Thousands of anti-war protestors across the UK took to the streets on Halloween in protest at the government's plans to join a US led attack against Iraq. Around 150 different events included critical mass bike rides, occupations, and mass demonstrations in Brighton, Manchester, Glasgow and London and many other places including Broadstairs, Walthamstow, North Finchley, Muswell Hill, Gamlingay, Kingston, Milton Keynes, Southend and Dorking. There was some local press coverage and very little national media coverage, which only mentioned the main London protest. Everybody had been asked to join in the non-violent resistance against war and oppression by engaging in acts of civil disobedience, however large or small.

Prior to the sun rising anti-war slogans were projected onto the Houses of Parliament, while early morning dancing took place at a 'disco action' at Liverpool St station. Before midday an all women action blocked Westminster Bridge [audio report] with street theatre, puppets and music, leading to an arrest after police forcefully intervened. Workers at a radical bookstore hung banners from their windows. In South London over 150 people rallied in Brixton centre despite Lambeth Council's attempts to stop the event and heavy police surveillance, whilst in Kingston upon Thames 100 people took part in a march. Lambeth UNISON also protested against the war. A Critical Mass bike protest started at 2pm at the Imperial War Museum on a tour of war and oil interests: see audio reports [1][2][3][4] : reports + pics [1][2][3]

At 6pm thousands of people gathered outside the Houses of Parliament in an anti-war protest (numbers range from 1,500 estimated by police to 3-5000), with hundreds of police and mounted riot officers already out in force [Audio]. A large student march arrived at 6pm swelling the numbers. After an impassioned speech by Jeremy Corbyn MP, the protest set off to Downing Street where police and mounted riot police hemmed in the crowd, while a Samba band played. Police numbers were larger than at the last demo outside Parliament, but the mood of the crowd was determined and peaceful with a cross section of people attending, from students to veteran peace campaigners, anti-capitalists to anarchists with many people in halloween costumes. The Stop The War Coalition had said that the protest would end at Downing Street but it soon became clear that people wished to remain protesting, although the 'Trick or Treat?' 'Occupy Parliament Action' turned out to be a 'trick'. After about an hour of scuffles [pics][1], use of mounted police, confiscation of banners and a few arrests the police allowed the crowd to move up whitehall towards Trafalgar Sq where people staged sitdown protests. Police then pushed people towards Strand with people stopping traffic, dancing and giving out leaflets. The march finished at Houghton St at the LSE. The first reports talked of 14 arrests, though now it seems the number was nearer 8 - see brief timeline.

Reports + Pics: [LSE student march] [Parliament Square][2] [Guilfin pics + reports]

Police tactics: [Police snatch squads] [Police assault photographers] [Targeted arrests] [Eyewitness Appeal]

In Brighton, demonstrations including a critical mass protest and rallies took place and later that evening up to a thousand demonstrators blocked the seafront, and were attacked by riot police with batons and pepper spray - see Reports [1][2]. In Edinburgh Anti-War protests involved banner drops, street theatre and an anti-war film screening. Hundreds took to the Sheffield streets in day of action against the war with a march accompanied by samba, rallys and occupations [pic]. Manchester reported a 1000-strong crowd blocking Oxford road completely (8pm); see reports [1][2][3][pics][video]. 400 people marched in Glasgow, while several events took place in Edingburgh including banner drops, protests and a film screening. In Bristol hundreds joined a vigil followed by a march to a territorial army base, more than a 100 marched in Reading, 30 protestors brought traffic to a halt in Barnsley, around 50 people held a rally in Oldham [pic], others protested in Farnham, while anti war banners were dropped from Cardiff Castle walls and around 150 people blocked roads in Swansea [see Indycymru]. In Cambridge, the DERA building on New Museum's Site has been occupied while in Liverpool students occupied and hundreds protested. Stoke-on-Trent saw local people staging a mock funeral procession.

University occupations took also place at Manchester, Sheffield, Cambridge, Colchester Sixth Form, Brighton, SOAS and UCL and the LSE in London - see audio [1][2] - demos also occured at Essex University [pic 2] and Camberwell Art College. Road blockades were reported in Finsbury Park (London) [pic], Manchester, Sheffield, and Oxford [Report]

All this follows actions yesterday which included protesters in Cardiff halting proceedings in the Welsh assembly, a demo outside the Royal Festival Hall which was host to a concert organised by the Royal Air Force and a 300 strong demo that marched to the American consulate, as well as recent mass protests in Washington (100,000), Glasgow (15,000), London (400,000-ish) and elsewhere. The Stop the War Coalition has now announced another large-scale march through London on February 15th 2003, while plans are still underway for widespread civil disobedience as soon as any military action against Iraq begins.

Discussion: "What a washout the anti-war actions were"? here. Analysis articles [1][2] [3]. UK events list here + recent world events here.

If you know of any other actions send a report or pictures to this site by pressing on the publish button to the right.

See also: Iraq : Active Resistance to the Roots of War : Direct Action Against the War Now : Voices in the Wilderness : Media Workers Against War

Stop War Coalition | Disobedience