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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 07:27 GMT 08:27 UK
Iraq peace march: Do you support it?
Film director Ken Loach has addressed several thousand protestors at a huge anti-war demonstration in London.
Ex-UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter and campaigning journalist John Pilger also joined a broad cross-section of campaigners at the rally organised by the Stop the War Coalition and the Muslim Association of Britain
From the rally, Mr Loach told the BBC that a war with Iraq would be "monstrous" and that Prime Minister Tony Blair "does not speak in the name of the British people".
Campaigners say public opposition to bombing Iraq has grown since the government published their evidence on Saddam's weapons programme.
Ministers say that the threat of force is the only way to resolve the Iraqi crisis peacefully.
Would you go to a march like this? What do you think it can achieve? Are public demonstrations on the rise?
This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Over 50 years ago, my parents were peace marchers. When war came they were among the first to lose a son. Hitler became a fanatic dictator. My parents regretted not supportiing stopping Hitler when he began to break treaties years earlier. Dictators do not think like normal people and must be stopped sooner than too late.
I marched yesterday and the most moving sight for me was the elderly gentleman walking with a stick and accompanied by a young grandchild, both wearing the badge of 'Jews for Justice for Palestinians'.
Will Thomas, UK
I would certainly march. I have read the Iraq dossier which was supposed to put the government case for war against Iraq. It has not convinced me one bit.
Who would have thought that a Labour prime minister would make Thatcher look like a peace-loving supporter of democracy? It is utterly disgraceful that our leader is effectively the American Foreign Secretary, and seems hellbent on pursuing this agenda of violence regardless of the facts, the danger to our armed forces, or the will of those he supposedly represents.
Beth Moore Henry, USA
No, I do not support the march. I am a non-Muslim Asian and I know many non-Muslims who do not support this march.
This march gives aid and comfort to the Saddam; with this march they are helping him maintain his evil regime. If the marchers genuinely feel for the Iraqi people, why is there not a single placard denouncing Saddam?
No, count me out of it. I'm staying home with the wife and kids. That goes for the war as well.
Jeff Thomson, UK
I am going to the peace demonstration, which I regard as a part of the broader anti-capitalist movement. The demonstration will show that a large amount of people can mobilise quickly to show the strength of public opposition to Western armed aggression. If Iraq is attacked, then I believe most of those on the demonstration will participate in direct action throughout the country. Britain will be closed down as soon as war is declared.
I don't think the march will achieve much because the US and UK governments now see that if they can control who is in charge of countries in the middle east, they will be able to force them to sell their oil cheaper. The fact that they went to war against Saddam little over a decade ago is a convenient excuse, and the inevitable suffering of the Iraqi people is of little concern.
How do these protesters think we can get Saddam to comply with the UN resolutions: Send him a petition?! Whilst I have my concerns over invading Iraq, I see no other way in ousting Saddam, as we have all seen sanctions have not worked.
I will certainly not march but I completely respect the democratic right of people of all nationalities, religions and opinions to peacefully make their point. This is, of course, in complete contrast to what you would be allowed to do in the country of Saddam Hussein.
Jean Scott-Barr, UK
If the government takes as much notice as it did of the countryside march, then you might as well stay at home.
It's interesting to note how many people plan on attending this rally because they feel it's wrong for one country (the US) to interfere in the governance of another country (Iraq). The irony of course is that the marchers are doing the exact same thing which they are protesting against. The very point of the march is to influence the governance of other countries. It's fascinating to see how self-righteous some folks can be when set out to judge the actions of others.
Linda Barbosa says the marchers are trying to influence the actions of the US. No, it's to influence the conduct of the UK Government, which is completely out of touch with UK public opinion. The chances of influencing Bush are negligible, since his motives are the forthcoming elections and avoiding embarrassing questions about Enron.
Tony Baxter, UK
Yes I will be supporting and attending the peace rally. The majority of the public are against any war on Iraq, and we need to make our voices heard. Thousands of innocent people are going to die, and we simply cannot stand back and allow this to happen.
Anthony Jones, UK
I fully intended to join the march, until I found out that it is being organised by CND and an Islamic group. I do not agree with CND at all, and I think religion should be kept out of the debate at all costs. I strongly suspect that one or both of these groups will hijack the march for their own purposes. The march would be a lot more meaningful if it comprised of the ordinary man and woman off the street, without some other axe to grind.
100%. Let's show Tony Blair the full force of public concern.
Participating in a march to protest against a policy is all fair and dandy but can only have very little effect. It may pinch three minutes of news coverage or if you are lucky may stir some debate, but as tool for forcing change forget it and just enjoy the physical exercise of the march. The power of real policy change is the polling station, but as we see from UK 'turn outs' come election time no one really gives a damn.
02 Mar 02 | England
18 Nov 01 | UK
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