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Two million Brits demonstrate for peace

Special to Kalamalama by Zuki Kanongovere, '02

If love is peace as St. Paul once told the Corinthians, then Britons agree. Despite a terror alert (400 armed soldiers were placed at Heathrow last week and are still there “to prevent terrorism”), more than a million English men and women (organizers claimed the crowd was two million) descended on Hyde Park the day after Valentine’s Day to chant, as many a protester’s posters stated, that there should be “No blood for oil.”


In a show of dissent with Prime Minister Tony Blair’s willingness to support U.S. President G.W. Bush in a war against Iraq, the organizers of England’s Anti-War Coalition lined up an impressive array of speakers. Among them were Liberal Democrat shadow Prime Minister, Charles Kennedy; Reverend Jesse Jackson; and in a true demonstration that not all people in the ruling Labour Party agree with, Blair’s desire for war, London Mayor Ken Livingstone and controversial former Secretary for Ireland, Mo Mowlam.


On Sunday after the march, Blair was quoted in the mainstream press as saying that if the country failed to fight Saddam, the marchers would have “blood on their hands.”

The reason the protestors ignored the terror warnings may be found in the common sentiment of Britons, stated by Kennedy at the rally, that the terror alerts are government propaganda and a sorry attempt at trying to gain the approval of a populace that has clearly said “no to war.”

There is even some talk in the press that British presence in Iraq will be the last nail that will seal Blair’s political coffin, particularly after the recent Cheriegate scandal (when Britain’s First Lady received a deal on real estate from an Australian who has since been deported). Blair’s pro-war stance is certainly causing much anti-Labour sentiment among this country’s large traditionally pro-Labour Moslem community.

Some of the protestors carried interesting signs: (Held by two women)
“War is menstrual envy”
“Make tea not war”
“Convince the U.N. and you may convince me”
“Behind every Bush there’s a terrorist.”


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