One Year Since U.S. Invasion

March 20: Planetwide Demos Against U.S. Occupation of Iraq

Revolutionary Worker #1234, March 28, 2004, posted at rwor.org

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.

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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.

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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

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