One Year Since U.S. Invasion
March 20: Planetwide Demos Against U.S. Occupation of Iraq
Revolutionary Worker #1234, March 28, 2004, posted
One year ago, Iraq was being pounded by the "shock and awe" of U.S.
attack. Iraq's people have now lived a year under brutal occupation--as U.S.
invaders seek to impose a new pro-U.S. government at the point of a gun.
On March 20, 2004, hundreds of thousands of people around the world took to
the streets, in over 300 actions in dozens of countries. Powerful outpourings of
protest and resistance denounced the U.S. occupation of Iraq and demanded an end
to U.S. attempts to dominate the world through threats and war.
As we go to press, reports on March 20 are starting to arrive, and accurate
estimates are still hard to come by.
In Rome, Italy, some journalists estimated the crowd as high as one million.
In Barcelona and Madrid, in Spain, hundreds of thousands of people denounced the
war and demanded the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq.
There were major actions in the U.S. itself and a daring demonstration of
Iraqi people in the heart of Baghdad.
In Britain, Japan, Australia, and South Korea, marches demanded that their
governments withdraw military contingents that have joined in the U.S.
occupation of Iraq.
Our RW correspondent in New York City wrote: "A massive river
of people moved through the center of Manhattan, packed together for dozens of
blocks, from curb to curb. March organizers estimated the crowd at 100,000--who
gathered in the face of a heavy-handed police presence. People had come to
reject, denounce and ridicule George W. Bush and everything he represents in
this world. This defiance jumped out from banners and homemade signs. A 20-foot
statue of George Bush was toppled down in the middle of the street. In the
crowds this day, the question that buzzed was how to pull this whole Bush agenda
down for real."
An RW correspondent in San Francisco reported that 50,000 people
marched in a festive and defiant mood. The dock workers contingent (ILWU)
announced that they had called for a work stoppage and no ships were being
unloaded in the Bay Area. A "Not in Our Name" contingent staged
periodic die-ins. Police attacked a break-away march, arresting over 80 people.
Later police justified surveillance and detentions saying they were authorized
by the federal Patriot Act.
In Los Angeles, 15,000 people marched down Hollywood Boulevard to the rolling
sounds of drums. Marches of thousands took the streets in Chicago, Denver and
Pittsburgh. And actions took place in at least 200 other U.S. cities and towns.
A thousand people converged in desolate Crawford, Texas, to protest directly
at the Bush ranch.
Many marches prominently featured the voices of U.S. military families and
veterans--including an important protest of 1,500 held outside Fort Bragg in
North Carolina. "I hate George Bush and everything he stands for," one
72-year-old disabled Navy veteran told the press.
Meanwhile, on Friday, March 19, thousands of people dared to take the streets
in the heart of Bagdad, Iraq's capital. This rally reportedly brought together
contingents of Shia and Sunni people to make a single statement against the U.S.
occupation. This is especially bold since the U.S. occupation authorities there
have banned public demonstrations and repeatedly ordered their troops to shoot
into crowds of protesters. Marchers denounced the conquest and occupation of
their country--and protested the repeated killing of Iraqis by U.S. troops and
the refusal of U.S. authorities to allow families to visit prisoners. One sign
said "Human rights have disappeared."
In addition significant actions took place in almost every major capital and
city on every continent from Dublin, Ireland to Hong Kong to Melbourne,
Australia to Santiago, Chile to Johannesburg, South Africa to San Juan, Puerto
Rico. Thousands marched in Turkey's cities to denounce the occupation and the
planned visit by George Bush.
Thousands protested in Egypt with a banner that read: "No WMD, but
20,000 Iraqi civilians killed.this is Bush's democracy!"
Protesters scaled the Big Ben clocktower in London and unfurled a banner that
simply said "Time for Truth."
In Manila, capital of the Philippines, police attacked marchers in front of
the U.S. embassy with water cannons.
Everywhere on March 20, people expressed their deep opposition to the ugly
occupation of Iraq and their determination to defeat the U.S. attempt to
dominate the whole world.
In New York City, there was widespread talk about preparing for this summer
when the Republican National Convention will be the focal point of massive
actions to repudiate the whole agenda of war and repression.
http://rwor.org/resistance -RW resource page on resisting the
juggernaut of war and repression