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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 11:01 GMT
Anti-war protests: Can the rallies make a difference?
Hundred of thousands of people gathered for a huge protest against a possible US-led war in Iraq in the Australian city of Sydney.

It is the latest in a series of an estimated 600 peace rallies around the world this weekend which around eight million people so far have attended.

Two of the largest demonstrations were held in New York and London.

Did you attend an anti-war rally? Why do you think it was important to be there? Or do you disagree with the aims of the demonstrators? Are the protesters right or misguided?


This debate has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I watched coverage from all over the world. It all looked the same. It was all one big, anti-American diatribe. Not one sign, placard, or protester I saw gave any indication of a real world solution. Oh, the inspections seemed quite popular but that's not really a solution. The only reason Saddam hasn't kicked out the inspectors is because thousands of my fellow Americans are armed on his doorstep. Besides, the onus is on Saddam to prove he doesn't have the weapons, not for the inspectors or the US to prove he does. These facts seem to escape most of the protesters it seems.
Janet S., Cincinnati, USA

The more they see these protests, the more they will question their own ideas
Allen, Boulder, USA
Public protest is necessary in order to uphold the values of democracy. Since we (the public) can't vote on whether or not our country should engage in war, it is essential that our opinions be heard. I do believe the recent antiwar protests have had an impact on whatever the final outcome will be. World leaders watch the news too, when they see their own people protesting in large masses, there is bound to be some impact on their personal opinion and hence on their decisions. The more they see these protests, the more they will question their own ideas.
Allen, Boulder, USA

I can't help but notice that some people seem to be missing the point. The march was NOT a pro-Saddam march, it was pro-peace. It was ordinary people being prepared to make a stand to say to anyone who will listen that we are not backing this pre-emptive call to war. In spite of the propaganda, it is not Saddam who will get bombed and irradiated, it is ordinary humans who we believe have suffered enough at the hands of the generals and the politicians. And that is why we will keep on keeping on until we get results. There is no other option but peace.
Dave, Cornwall, UK

I applaud both the spirit of the protestors and the (mostly) non-violent nature of the demonstrations. However I still feel their actions and sentiments are misguided. Of course the public should have the right and means to air their views on all issues, and governments should always be sensitive to this. But we have elected officials for a reason, namely to make tough decisions that they believe are for the greater good, regardless of how unpopular this may make them. Majority public opinion seems opposed to war with Iraq regardless of the circumstances, much as it was in 1930's Europe in the face of Nazi Germany's aggression. Had public opinion prevailed then, people today would not have the right to protest about anything.
Paul Finn, England

Very few, if any, of Saturday's marchers, marched in support of Saddam Hussein and to allege that this was the case, or indeed the unintended result, is just cynical. However many of the march's participants and supporters won't have failed to notice how human rights issues have suddenly made the limelight now that the evidence for weapons of mass destruction and links with Al Qaeda has been found inconclusive. Saddam's human rights abuses have been known for more than a decade so one has to ask why is it only now that this is an issue? Another question to ask is whether this new found zeal for human rights marks a paradigm shift in US and UK foreign policy? Will human rights abusers the world over be quaking in their boots wondering if they will be targeted next? Sadly I doubt it.
Martyn, Kent, UK

People are saying that war should only be the last resort. But what other options are there? Peace is not a choice - we can't ignore what's happening in Iraq and pretend that we've achieved peace. At school they always taught us that the one that stands by is as bad as the bully. A choice has to be made - leave Saddam in power, or fight him. No one wants war, but the consequences of not going to war could be far worse.
Jenni, Sheffield, England

We are going to settle things and in the process find out who our friends are
Tom, H, Chicago, USA
No, I didn't attend. I did in the sixties when most of us realised that the organisers were leftist politicians, many of whom have cooked up this mess we have now. I am sorry that so many people wish to be used in this way. There is no stalemate on the issues being created by these demonstrations (not protests). We are going to settle things and in the process find out who our friends are. You are either with us or against us. We have not forgotten that.
Tom, H, Chicago, USA

Anti-war protestors would have much more credibility if they also protested against Saddam's war crimes, crimes against humanity and massive human rights violations in Iraq.
Meerkat, Alexandria, VA, USA

It is clear that public protests around the world serve as a challenge to the US. Now we have two superpowers - US and world opinion!
Iyengar, Tulsa, USA

My family and I live in Khober in Saudi Arabia. We are close to the war zone and we have already experienced war crisis due to Gulf Wars 1 and 2. We need EU support and to say no to war for us in Saudi Arabia.
Abdulmajeed Makhtoum, Khober, Saudi Arabia

We are the citizens of the world
Seiji Kshikawa, Osaka, Japan
Here in Japan, sadly it seems that our prime minister and government have no opinion to avoid the war. Are we such fools as allow to attack on Iraq as the only way to solve the problem? Haven't we learnt from the past? For the future, I think we all need to share an idea that we are the citizens of the world.
Seiji Kshikawa, Osaka, Japan

In reply to Seiji Ishikawa, I don't think it's fair to blame the Japanese Government for their lack of opposition to the war when most Japanese people have no interest in it (although many are understandably preoccupied with the North Korean situation). I was at the demonstration in Tokyo and it was saddening to see that while a million can turn out on the streets of London, only around 5,000 protested in Japan, and about half of them weren't even Japanese! It's the British Government that really deserves contempt if it ignores its citizens and joins the war, but it would be nice if more Japanese people could show some interest in global problems like this.
Dan, Japan

I was on the streets because the mainstream media is ignoring the voice of millions of Americans who are for peace. Previous peace demonstrations have been given scant coverage. It is clear from the beginning that there is no logical reasoning for this war and if only mainstream media in US had the guts to question the neo-conservatives' war agenda, the White House would not have had the political will to move aggressively for a war. Thanks to the internet and courage of dedicated peace activists the threat of war has somewhat receded. I am sure the political leaders will see the writing on the wall work for peace from now on.
Aftab Siddiqui, Arlington, Texas, US

It is not possible to have pro-war rallies because no one is for war. What we are has more to do with the realization that war maybe the only solution left. At all times Saddam Hussein has had the option to just pack up and leave. If he really cared about his country instead of himself he would have done that. The problem that totalitarian governments all have is the succession issues. It always involves murder and mayhem. We just ought to go in and get the job done. Stop worrying about uniform opinion and who is or is not an ally. In fact we should cheerfully thank all those countries that have shown support for out task and only call them in after the conflict is resolved and the infrastructure reset with new operators.
Micheal J. Brown, North Lauderdale USA

We are so heartened to see the world speaking out so strongly
Chris, Oakland, California, USA
I certainly did participate in the protests today in San Francisco. We are so heartened to see the world speaking out so strongly. I think beyond my borders - not just as "an American," but as a member of an interconnected world. Our administration is peddling fear: focus myopically on this one bad man, so we will forget about the interlocking repercussions - undermining international law and the UN, inflaming resentment of the US around the world, and setting a new precedent for the 21st century of pre-emptive attack. Incredible! Well I'm not buying it, and clearly the world isn't buying it either.
Chris, Oakland, California, USA

I repeat, the anti-war protestors are not supporting Saddam. They are opposing the double standards of the Western governments in propping up evil dictators when it suits them and deposing them when it doesn't, killing thousands of innocents in the process. All the nations that the US has bases in, in the Middle East are despotic regimes. Let the US overthrow them first to prove its sacred intentions.
Prasad Metta, India

I believe the protestors are misguided. The blind leading the blind in ignorance. I trust President Bush. Having been in the military I know commanders see much more material than the general public. This material cannot be made public and should not be. We live in a republic where I'm thankful to have leaders with the integrity to lead our country in what is best, and not bow to the whims of a vocal minority.
Gary, Arnold MO USA

Yes, the march will make a difference if we all tell our MPs that they'll lose our vote if they a war policy instead of a peaceful solution to the Iraq problem.
John, London UK

The world is acting like a circus. Government leaders are hurling insults at each other like school children. I am sure that Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are laughing their heads off. Their "war" has already begun. It is being waged within the hearts and minds of the citizens of the world, tearing nations apart.
Military might is no longer the gauge of strength because the battlefield is abstract. We must unite in protest so that Bush and Blair will see with their eyes what their hearts cannot feel. Nature should be allowed to take its course. The people of Iraq will get rid of Hussein when they are good and ready. No other government has the right to dictate what is best for another nation because they are making dictators of themselves by doing so.
Abigail Villaraza, Manila, Philippines

I marched on Sunday in Sydney because I cannot support the way that Bush, Blair and Howard are obsessively rushing to war. They are not considering any reasonable alternatives, such as those proposed by France and Germany. If there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, they will certainly be found given enough time and enough resources for the inspectors - especially intelligence.
It is hypocritical of the US to threaten to flout the UN, an organisation set up to keep the peace, while using Iraq's alleged flouting of the UN as a justification. The meddling of the big powers in the Middle East must simply stop. The many problems in that part of the world mostly result from previous Western involvement. Australia has never before been involved in the starting of a war. And it has never before gone to war without bipartisan support. Now is not the time to start. Besides, what precedent would a "pre-emptive strike" set for the rest of the world?
Geoff Gordon, Sydney, Australia

I congratulate the demonstrators in London, Rome, New York and elsewhere around the world. They are the moral vanguard of humanity, standing against Mr. Bush's arrogant rush to slaughter. The spirit of the Aldermaston marchers, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the civil rights movements (in the US and Northern Ireland), and the anti-apartheid movement lives on and is being passed on to a new generation of activists. Perhaps the millions of young people in these marches will be the ones who lead the forces of peace to victory. May their parents not crush them.
Ken Burch, Juneau, Alaska USA

Yes, I do believe we should be all in the streets if we want to make a difference. Governments are representatives of the people, therefore they should be acting according to people's opinions and not against them. I was in the street on Saturday, not many of us here, unfortunately, but still, we also showed that we care and that we disagree with the Romanian government's position in the Iraqi issue.
Nadia, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

I joined the peace march because I am convinced that to proceed the way that the US president, Blair and Howard seem to want to go is hypocritical, would set an extremely dangerous precedent, and is a political stunt to hide their hidden agendas of exploiting poor nations for economic gain. Why aren't the US, UK, and Australia invading Israel? Why aren't they invading North Korea? What is really going on behind closed doors?
Alexander Dudley, Sydney, Australia

Have we not learned from the past? I protested in Montreal because the United Nations and the world community have a unique opportunity: stop a war and the death of thousands of people before a shot is fired. We have failed miserably in the past: Congo,Balkans, Rwanda to name a few. US "geopolitical" interests are at the origin of this crisis, as they have been so many times in the past. The White House must be told, once and for all - to stop. A pre-emptive strike is a precedent the world cannot afford. War is never the answer.
JF Huc, Montreal, Canada

I feel some people have missed the point of the anti-war demonstration, our objective was not to keep Saddam in power but to prevent war. I do not support Saddam Hussein and am not naive to the evil he has caused but I believe that if the world wishes to maintain any morals it has, then war is not the answer. The Iraqi people will be the ones who suffer not Saddam - so before you ease your consciences with the idea that this is all for their benefit think about what war actually does.
Rachel, UK

About 14 years ago, an ex-seminarian corrected my then excessive liberal thinking by pointing out to me that morality is not necessarily a function of headcount. He was right! Those against the war seems to be in the majority, but their judgment may be lopsided. History is there to teach us that tyranny and dictatorship does no good to humanity. Something definitely has to be done about leaders like Saddam and his types. I think this is not the time for demonstrations. .
Willy, Cameroon

The irony in all of this is of course that most Iraqis can't wait for America to come in and get rid of Saddam for them!
Hani, Jeddah , Saudi Arabia

I hope that those who took part in the appeasement march yesterday are feeling good knowing that Iraqi newspapers this morning are praising their actions, calling it a "huge moral victory" over the United States and Britain. Fortunately, nearly 80% of the US population alone stand behind the coming use of force to oust the evil dictator Saddam, so his "gloating" will be over soon.
Barry, Missouri, USA

What confuses me is that the US (or at least those who run the country) threatens some countries in Europe with trade embargoes just because they don't share the same opinion. How democratic is that? France, Germany, Belgium and others at least want to vote in the UN before going to war... the closest to a democratic decision you can get in this situation.
Andreas, Norrköping, Sweden

I was so glad that I was able to attend the anti-war demo. on Saturday to show my support. I was impressed by the huge turnout. There were all sorts of people from different backgrounds, ages and I admire the support shown by disabled members of the public! This demo. had to take place and I hope world leaders will listen to their people and do everything in their power to avert yet another conflict, which will inevitably bring suffering and impact people worldwide!!
Rajeeva Wijetunge, Southampton, UK

It is so very saddening that so many people, among them some bright and distinguished minds, fall into protesting against the only means that the world has with which to effectively police its sadistic, cruel and ruthless dictators of evil intentions: that is, military intervention. No doubt the protestors would prefer to live under a regime led by an evil dictator and would be the first to support such a leader in their own countries ? Sadly even the brightest minds sometimes lack intelligence. Surely they would want someone else to rescue them from being oppressed under a cruel tyrant ? Would they protest against that too and prefer to be cattle to a slaughter ?
Robert Morpheal, Canada

Obviously I walked in the London March today. All I want to say at this stage it has become clear that Tony has lost the backing of his people and is leading Britain into a war which it does not want. He clearly stated that in his own words he may be making himself "unpopular" but will continue on his previous line of politics (or the lack thereof) and continue to act as Bush's "poodle". Now the question that has to be asked is if indeed Tony Blair possesses the freedom to alienate himself from his own people and the rest of Europe or if it might be time to find a true representative of the British public and not simply a puppet.
Andy Auer, London UK (Ger)

There seem to be a number of people missing the point. The official (the truth may well be another matter entirely) line is that the US want to attack Iraq because it has weapons of mass destruction, not because it thinks Saddam is a bad man to his people. In the event of war, Saddam will be safely tucked away somewhere, it is ordinary folk like you and me who will suffer (further).
Sharron, England

Of course I will go and march. It is the only way that people will be able to show how they feel about the war and their government should respect it. The only thing that the war will bring about is deaths and famine for the Iraqi people and distress to the rest of the world; their leader will keep up with his work. I think that the anti- war marches are a great way to show how the public opinion feels about the war!
Anna, Athens Greece

Here we go again! All those tired, washed up ex-celebs and ineffectual politicians [I'm only surprised that Charles Kennedy decided he would go.
Barbara Cook, England

Does anyone think that if Saddam is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, which will likely be shared with terrorist organizations, that after they are detonated in London and New York, there will be anti war protests being held in Baghdad?
Alan Resnick, Chicago USA

The only credible thing about this march is that it includes a lot of people who don't know why they are marching. I have already heard marchers on BBC News24 struggle to defend the reasons they are marching, other than to say it is their right! Yes it is. You feel good believing that your actions are not taking the lives of thousands. But in supporting Saddam and dictator states with your peace on earth stance you have the blood of thousands on your hands who wouldn't have the rights to wander around the streets waving posters against their leaders - for they would be tortured or killed.
Jade, UK

Neither Britain nor America have the right to tell other states what they can and cannot have in their country. This decision must be made by the UN. Armed intervention is therefore only justifiable following a UN declaration that Iraq poses a threat to international security. America can not sit on a nuclear arsenal and dictate what weapons other countries are allowed to possess. I therefore support the march.
John,UK

Surely no-one protesting today wants to show support for the tyrannical regime in Iraq. But the US and UK have supported it themselves whenever it suited them, as indeed they shore up despotic regimes around the world. I simply cannot support the hypocrisy.
Katherine, Italy

People who propose war are the real cowards. They do so in anonymity and from the comfort of being out of range. Why are there no pro-war demonstrations?
Patrick Egan, Ireland

My fear about the possible war is this, if the purpose is to remove Saddam Hussein I can guarantee he won't die. As usual in all wars the vast majority of deaths will be people who have no direct influence on events - whether they be from the forces of our and other countries or civilians in Iraq. I don't hate the people of Iraq and I'm sure they don't hate me. This situation can only enforce my view that without politicians of any political view the world would be a safer place.
Chris Edwards, Winchester, Hampshire

Freedom has to be fought for, and the people of Iraq have no such right


Nigel MacDonald, UK
I fully support the positive stance taken by the US and UK against Saddam Hussein and his tyranny. There is no alternative. The appeasers and apologetics can protest as much as they like as far as I am concerned. All they are doing is giving comfort and encouragement to a corrupt and evil regime.
David Fell, UK

I marched yesterday in the first of the weekend marches, in Melbourne. It was a wonderful feeling to be with over 150,000 people all opposed to our government's stance on the war. Our Prime Minister, like yours, does not have the support of the nation. Demonstrations can help change government policies. Remember Vietnam. May your streets ring out with the sound of marching feet!
Ann de Hugard, Melbourne, Australia

I think if all the money, effort and petrol spent by the millions of people protesting today was spent instead in discussing and tackling the fundamental social issues fuelling the Middle East crises, we would now be a lot further from starting a war. We are more interested in Hollywood sensation and our own bank balances than we are in saving the world - that's someone else's job isn't it? War now is the price of our apathy in years gone by. No war and more apathy will not improve the situation. I hope anti-war does not mean anti-action.
Duncan, London, UK

What these protesters conveniently forget is that their democratic right to protest is built on the bodies of two million dead and wounded in two world wars. Freedom has to be fought for, and the people of Iraq have no such right. They have two choices; Protest for Saddam OR be executed, or protest against Saddam AND be executed.
Nigel MacDonald, UK

The issue should be to remove the dictator and his government
Clive Griffiths, Chichester, UK
I shall not be marching because Iraq's regime has an absolutely appalling human rights record. Those who march are supporting this record as they are opposing the only possible method available to remove him from power.
Nick, Canada, Ex-UK

Having fought in the last Gulf War in 1992, I believe that little will be achieved in bombing Iraq. Many innocent people will be killed, and for what? The issue should be to remove the dictator and his government - not destroy the families of Iraq!
Clive Griffiths, Chichester, UK

There can be few things more futile than an anti-war march. The very fact that it is allowed to take place indicates that either the war is not serious or the government regards the march as irrelevant. Our soldiers are putting their lives on the line because it is their job. Marching around London waving a few flags and shouting mindless slogans seems rather self-indulgent to say the least.
Tom, Burnley, UK

I have never responded to anything on the web and had never planned to but reading some of the tripe from my fellow Americans let me just say that the majority of us are against the war just as the majority were and are against Bush.
Lee, Oregon, USA

I will be marching in London tomorrow. There must be a way at the beginning of the 21st century for all the nations of the world to address the problem of tyranny that does not depend on blowing up innocent men, women and children.
Steven Hill, Birmingham, UK

I'll be marching on Saturday in Glasgow with my family and friends who will be bringing their own children. I think it's important as parents to show children that war in unacceptable especially when there are viable alternatives. We will be at the SECC to let Tony Blair (who will be at a Labour Party conference) know that we object to this war being steamrollered along. Also, I think it is disgraceful that the Labour party have banned the demonstrators from using a PA system for speakers at the rally. This is supposed to be a democracy and they will not let us speak! I feel strongly against this war and it is our right to demonstrate and although people may say it's futile at least we can say, when the bombs start to fall that we did something about it - rather than sitting at home.
G. Harker, Scotland

If we have doubts about the legitimacy of such a war, we should not be waging it
Jon Wilson, UK
I will be going to the march in London, not because I am anti-war, or anti war with Iraq, but because I feel our government has failed to make the case for a war now. Essentially I am a doubter. If we have doubts about the legitimacy of such a war, we should not be waging it. The risks of massive Middle Eastern instability are too great, and ironically we could force Saddam to use the very weapons of mass destruction we are told he is hiding.
Jon Wilson, UK

I read with interest the fors and against protesting, I come to the conclusion that if the protestors want to protest let them travel to Iraq and do it there! That's the real source of the problem! Let the other 90% of the world population get on with supporting their governments. Also, by the way, how long will it be before the thugs wreck the peaceful demonstrations I give it two hours max. Get a life!
Mitch, Scotland

I only wish that there would be some antiwar rally or demonstration to attend! But this is a HIPIC country desperately and naively hoping that the US will make things right for its citizens. The looming war which will impact more negatively on countries like this than anywhere else, is therefore a non event. Not even in the myriad so called Christian churches here are prayers offered up to stop the aggressors from their foolish war. Bury our heads in the sand is our motto here and we are sticking to it!
Yolande M.Agble, Ghana

Well, if our Guardians haven't scared us half to death with terrorist "threats" then I expect the turn-out will be huge. But Tony Blair of course will have his eyes shut tight, fingers in ears, shouting loudly so he can't see or hear anything he doesn't like. Meanwhile... has everyone forgotten the reality of IRA terrorist attacks in London? Terror? London? So what else is new?
John Dover, UK

I doubt we will see many Iraqi refugees marching this weekend, they at least understand the true nature of tyranny.
Gordon McStraun,UK

The figures they have in the first place are not based on fact but rather on hearsay
John Bassi, London UK
I am going because I have seen no 'facts' to justify this war. The figures they have in the first place are not based on fact but rather on hearsay. They started inspections on the premise that if we find anything you are damned, and if we don't find anything you are damned. What incentive does that give anybody to try and come back into the law abiding international community?
John Bassi, London UK

Here in the US, the protestors are a mix of aging baby boomers who are trying to relive their Vietnam youth protesting days and "anarchist" trust fund hippies who have no life experience. Just as in Vietnam, peace protests actually cost lives because they delay the inevitable. For these folks, we will need to wait until a nuclear, biological, etc bomb goes of in a major city.
Tony, Jersey City, USA

I took part in the great anti-nuclear rallies of the 1980s, condemning President Reagan as a 'warmonger'. And we were proved wrong - the precondition of peace was to stand resolutely against dictatorships, as the collapse of Communism later showed. Having learned this lesson, I shall certainly not be attending the anti-war rally on Saturday. The real campaigners for peace are President Bush and Tony Blair.
Oliver Kamm, UK

I have never marched before. But I think it's vital that the government sees the strength of feeling on this issue. I also think it important that they see it's not just a rag tag army of anarchists and trouble-makers but "ordinary" people from all walks of society. And to that end it is essential to my mind that the rally is peaceful and as good-humoured as possible.
Neil Walker, UK

I will never forget the news footage showing the piles of dead Iraqis wiped out by a nerve gas attack from their own leader. A man that is prepared to slaughter his own people en mass in this way clearly cannot be trusted. I am amazed he has been given this long. The consequences of delaying any action further will be disastrous.
James, England

We protesters are not appeasers
Robert, UK
Sometimes war is necessary, but not in this case. We protesters are not appeasers; we just recognise that a war now means a century of conflict to come. "War is a necessary evil" says one contributor. No- Saddam is the necessary evil that we have to accept for now, because less people will die this way. Removal of sanctions is the first step to undermine his grip of power.
Robert, UK

It's sad people express this ludicrous idea that a majority of the country has no clue to the Middle East's problems. Those going on the 15 February march are doing so because they have considered all the facts carefully. It seems that those who want war have forgotten we still live in a democracy. The majority of this country, when opposed to war should be taken extremely seriously! Even our reactionary press is finding that 80% and more of us are against a pre-emptive strike against Iraq. This should be enough to show the government is wrong!
James, UK

Some people suggest the government should do what their population wish. Yet is it not the duty of the government to run the country as well as possible, and take unpopular decisions? When Peel revoked the Corn Laws in 1846 a majority of his supporters were against the move, yet in the long run this action has been credited for the prosperity of the subsequent decades. Similarly, the fact that many people are against a war does not make such a war wrong, nor does it indite the government for pursuing such a course of action.
Paul, United Kingdom

Think of the Iraqi people who do not have the freedom of speech
Fred Warren, UK
I will not be attending the march, not because I don't believe in the right of free speech, but because I believe that sometimes force is the only means available to achieve freedom of expression. Think of the Iraqi people who do not have the freedom of speech, the Kurds who were gassed in the late 80s. If, by using force, we can achieve these freedoms, we will have done a good thing. Would the protestors gladly lay down their lives to achieve this? I think not.
Fred Warren, UK

My friends and I will attend the demo here for good reasons: this is not 1939; some politicians and warmongers DO want a war, and DO profit from such actions; and the reason for the war cannot be counter-terrorism - as the DIS leaked a document to the BBC this week making that plain. Protesting against a war waged for no good reason, with the risk of many innocents being murdered, is not appeasement: it's humanity and it's decency.
Tom Clarke, Barcelona, Spain

I have no respect for any protestor who did not take the time to vote
Angelo Bonello, Philadelphia, USA
If people strongly feel against the war, then all the more power to them for exercising their democratic right to protest. However, I have absolutely no respect for any protestor who did not take the time to vote in the two previous elections here in the US (if they were eligible). Voting against Bush and war hawks would have been more affective towards preventing a war in Iraq than holding signs and marching through Washington and other cities across the country.
Angelo Bonello, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

I'm interested in and concerned by the way pro-war people talk about "appeasement" and "1939." I do not believe that Saddam is in a position to become the next Hitler. Yes he is seeking dangerous weapons, but the inspectors can slow his efforts dramatically. Moreover, recall that in 1939 appeasement meant allowing Hitler to conquer many Eastern European nations. The peace movement is not going to continue (at anything near its current strength) if Saddam seizes Iran or Kuwait.

Furthermore, being opposed to war does not mean supporting Saddam. One can be anti-war and attend protests and the like and still be in favour of containing and controlling the threat posed by Saddam's regime. Remember that it was internal opposition and not the NATO bombing that brought change to Serbia.
Chris Segal, United States

I fully agree with Chris Segal of USA. We cannot compare what happened in the thirties to the situation in Iraq today. The Gulf War in 1991 had some justification, and even then it might have been avoided. But in this instance there is an irrepressible feeling within all of us that going to war is horribly wrong. Will our leaders let this collective conscience speak to them, however, as it already has to most of us?
Simon Cameron, London, UK

I will demonstrate because I object bitterly to the prospect of a bombing campaign that will probably kill more people than the 20,000 who died of disease and starvation in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the destruction there. I do not believe, as some appear to, that eight pints of Anglo-Saxon blood is worth unlimited gallons of Third World blood. Aerial obliteration is a callous and cowardly act of racism.
D. Love, Oxford, UK

The right to question the power of oil companies and arms manufacturers is the right we have to push for today.
Geoff, UK
John Scott: "Protest marches are usually the last desperate gambit of groups who have lost the argument" Suffragette marchers, Jarrow marchers, black civil rights marchers - all lost the argument? Rights and freedoms we take for granted today are due to earlier protests. The right to question the power of oil companies and arms manufacturers (ie, the Bush administration) is the right we have to push for today.
Geoff, UK

Derek Johnson is already in the company of the appeasers. He is not merely appeasing, but supporting the aggressor, George W. Bush. If in 1939 we had had weapons inspectors in Germany seeking out all weapons denied to German under the treaty of Versailles and destroying those found, would that have been appeasement? Of course, not. I have yet to hear of anyone who would support appeasing Saddam.
Ian Miller, UK

Widespread anti-war protests are likely to make war *more* likely. Why? Because they indicate division and uncertainty - which Saddam Hussein has been all too willing to exploit in the past. He is the problem and, unless he chooses exile, war is the only option to remove him. Leaving him to recover his military and build up his weapons programmes will condemn the Iraqi people to further suffering and the rest of the world to the increased dangers of biological warfare.
Mark Pavlou, United Kingdom

I have been spreading demonstration flyers for a month now and yes, of course, I'm going to the anti-war demonstration here in Helsinki, Finland. I'm coming with many friends some of whom are coming all the way from Tampere (central Finland). I feel that going is my obligation and responsibility as a citizen of Europe and the world.
Valtteri Halme, Finland

Maybe the armchair generals, who are quite prepared (if not eager) to see men and women sent to their deaths for immoral reasons while they sit at home watching it on TV, could get involved in what they claim to believe in and organise their own pro-war demo ? April 1 would probably be a good date.
John M, UK

Fortunately the march will achieve nothing since for once our leaders have a better grasp on the situation than the masses. Being anti war is easy but l am glad that in 1939 we did what was necessary. What will it take for us to realise that not all wars are avoidable? Is a future nuclear conflict between Israel and Iraq with millions killed preferable to the regrettable dead of thousands now?
Allan Mackenzie, Scotland

Without a credible threat of force, war becomes inevitable
Eric Lee, UK
I will not be marching against this war, even though I marched in the USA against the Vietnam War thirty years ago. I will not be marching because I believe that the credible threat of force is the only thing that might persuade Iraq to back down, and that such marches make it hard for politicians in the West to take a strong stand and send a clear message. Without a credible threat of force, war becomes inevitable.
Eric Lee, UK

I will be marching in Amsterdam on the 15th along with people in over 60 cities worldwide. I do not trust Sadam, but neither do I trust those who want to rush into war and try to convince us with out-of- date copied material and fabricated links. Sadam and Osama Bin Laden are not one and the same. We know where Sadam is and he can be contained - so what about Bin Laden? Why cause so much suffering and instability - in the name of what might happen whilst the real organisers behind 9/11 are still free? Let the inspectors work, explore all alternatives and in the meantime let our voices be heard - I have to have hope.
Helen Miller, The Netherlands

If presidents Wilson and Roosevelt had listened to protesters and pacifists United State would have never entered WWI and WWII. After all, those weren't OUR wars!
Mirek Kondracki, USA

I have no argument with the innocent Iraqi people. I am not an appeaser but I do not believe that thousands of people should be killed in an attempt to rid the world of one man. His ideas will live on in Iraq and terrorism will be inflated and spread as a result of war. I think the Iraq people will resent the British and Americans for their actions not thank them. This is not Afghanistan. I am not convinced by George Bush. Tony Blair is all spin, spin, sound bites and spin. I will be proud to protest next week. I hope the whole country descends on London.
Graham, North Yorkshire, UK

If we had taken the advice of protestors of the Nato action in Kosovo, the genocide there would still be going on. Protestors scream and yell for human rights but only when they think countries they hate (like the US and the UK) are GOING to violate them. They couldn't care less about Saddam's human rights record. Now that is hypocrisy at its finest!
Ron, South Hampton, UK

I'm going to any protests here in NYC for the same reason most people go to these things; to meet hot chicks.
Igor Cretu, USA!

When governments of nation states decide to engage in "pre-emptive war" (aggression) against the wishes of their own citizens, what other avenue beside protest in the streets is open to those citizens to prevent such misguided policies? Anyone who does not participate in the antiwar protests is, in effect, saying, "Go ahead; initiate aggressive war." I will participate in any antiwar protest demonstration in my area. I hope you will do the same.
JB, USA

Will I join a march whose objective is to keep a dangerous, genocidal dictator in power indefinitely? No, I won't be there.
Richard Evans, UK

I do protest, I will, I would be ashamed if I did not....Nobody believe, I hope, that this is a war for democracy? its a war for oil, Bush ego. Saddam was good friend with the USA, and France, he has not changed a bit...Bush has not gotten Bin Laden's head, he think Saddam's could replace it
Jean Charles Madre, France

All my family are opposed to the war, and my parents have threatened to attend the march. I say 'threatened' because however much I hate the war, or more precisely George Bush, the thought of having to hang around with a bunch of hippies, lefties and pacifists in order to get my voice heard is something I simply will not do.
Edward Green, UK

Why is it that people will protest against their own western governments but do not travel to Iraq to protest against the real cause of this war - Saddam Hussein.
Paul Millar, UK

The government is not representing my views, so I shall represent myself on this occasion
Ben Whitham, UK
I see someone has used the term "war on Hussein" in their comment. You should understand that a war cannot be waged against a single person. An attack on Iraq would result in the deaths of many thousands of innocent civilian people. The motive for attacking is not one of 'freeing the Iraqi people' - if that was the case, then when are we going to free the people of Tibet? I will march, because I want to make myself heard as best I can, the government is not interested in representing my views, so I shall represent myself on this occasion. Unfortunately I do not have a seat in parliament, my letters and petitions have been ignored... taking to the street is my last option.
Ben Whitham, UK

People have very short memories. It's because the countries that now advocate peace (France, Russia, Germany) systematically undermined the weapon inspectors until inspections were abandoned in 1998 that we are in the situation we are in now. The inspections were undermined for cynical commercial gain. People who accuse the US of going to war for commercial reasons have it exactly back to front. Saddam started cooperating again because of the threat of war and is cooperating to the extent that the threat is credible. Peace protests actually increase the chance of war because they encourage Saddam to underestimate the seriousness of the US and the UK.
Chris, UK

I will be attending the demos. People who say appeasement doesn't work have a very poor and simplistic grasp of history - appeasement failed because Hitler would not be appeased. There is evidence that diplomacy will work with Saddam - weapons inspectors being in Iraq is a victory for diplomacy in itself.
Callum Dinnen, Glasgow, UK

We will see the usual suspects: students(a lot to learn about life),professional protesters(socialist worker placard carriers),third rate politicians, people with a vested interest. Hard working people like me will be at home charging their batteries for work so we can pay taxes to support the above.
Graham Beaumont, UK

I am going to the demo because it is important for the public to remember that despite what critics or the media say we do have power and if our leaders don't listen to us then they will be kicked out once the next election comes along.
Lizzie, Scotland

In England when we disagree with the government, we are free to assemble and protest. In Iraq that freedom does not exist. I hope that the peace protestors remember that. Saddam must be laughing that Bush and Blair permit it.
Guy Hammond, England

Saturday will be the first politcal rally I attend. While I would have supported the military overthrow of Saddam at the end of the Gulf War, there are many reasons why this is no longer appropriate and I believe that the UN is already critically damaged by the way the US 'buys' votes. If we can avoid an invasion of Iraq it will reaffirm the independence and legitamcy of the UN.
Chris, UK

I support demonstrations but I am not sure they will avert anything. Democracy that we claim to support and practice seems to be good only for our leaders' speeches. We are finding out that we, the USA, are an undemocratic nation. If we, the people counted, there would not be a war at all because the majority says no to war.
Sue McDowell, USA

I'm going a) Because I don't think a war is justified yet b) Because I want to see how the media portray the march afterwards. I have never been to something like this before, but I want to make it clear to Blair that he has got a lot of arguments to win before he throws us into a war without mandate.
Matt Davies, U.K.

Anti war protesting is fine. No one wants a war. I just hope that the protestors understand that there are real reasons this conflict is reaching a flash-point. The alternative to war with Iraq now might be thousands killed in a bio-chemical attack. Appeasement does not work.
Jason, USA

It will be something that Bush has to consider. The amount of people opposed to this war is growing and Bush can't ignore it if he intends to get re-elected. By 2004 this war is going to be Bush's achilles heal.
Scott, North Carolina, USA

I am going to join the mass demonstration to show that I believe in peaceful co-existence and to protest against war-mongers.
M N Khan, England

I will demonstrate against the war on February 15th. I will do so because I, in common with everybody I have spoken to about this, do not believe the tenuous evidence the US and UK are using to promote war. In contrast, it is easy to see the political and economic reasons the US has for going to war, which have nothing to do with weaponry or the welfare of the Iraqi people. A big demo may not force a change of policy on its own, but it will underline the political risk Tony Blair is taking in supporting this unjust war.
Rupert, UK

I am not going to an anti-war rally due to the fact that such a course of action exposes the freedom-loving nations of the world to even more terror than was unleashed on September 11, 2001. The time for talk is over and the time for action is at hand.
Carlton Huffman, United States

I will be attending the rally, along with many of my friends and colleagues, most of whom have never protested before.
Linus Twizell, UK
I will be attending the rally, along with many of my friends and colleagues, most of whom have never protested before. Given the current government's utter disregard for democratic tradition, I suspect that the impact on policy will be very small, but then any number is infinitely greater than zero.
Linus Twizell, UK

Protest marches are usually the last desperate gambit of groups who have lost the argument quote here
John Scott, UK
Protest marches are usually the last desperate gambit of groups who have lost the argument or do not have the sophistication to argue the case formally in parliament or the courts. This war can only be stopped by the actions of one person, Saddam Hussein. People marching should reflect on their freedom to make this protest - something that Saddam would never let his own people do.
John Scott, UK

I am going to the march for the following reasons: 1. to show the world that we are against this unjust war. 2.to show our government that even though they have the majority in parliament does not mean that they can represent the people on all the important issues.
Frank Nash, UK

Under no circumstances will I accompany rank appeasers. This war is I am afraid a necessary evil. It is time these protestors had the same realisation.
Derek Johnson, United Kingdom

I will be attending the anti-war rally next Saturday. The cause is just and good. What does worry me is if some people become violent and attack the demonstrators or police. Also, what about the likelihood of a terrorist attack against the rally?
Chris Kerr, London, UK

Have any of the anti-war protestors considered something crucial - that NOT going to war is a serious political decision with real consequences too. Personally, I haven't seen enough evidence to know for sure whether or not war is the best outcome. No-one WANTS war - the politicians who support it, let us not forget, and merely wish for a better outcome than failing to disarm Iraq.
Chris D, Oxford, UK

The anti-war demonstrators are naive and misguided. Appeasement did not work in 1939 and it will not work now. The only way to crush despotism is through conflict - the necessary means to an end. For many, this is not about war on Hussein, it is about venting their spleen against the United States.
Andrew, Yorkshire, UK

New Saturday I like thousands of other people will be going to the rally. We need to voice our objections to the government (Bush and Blair in particular) that a war under any circumstances is unacceptable. The amount of numbers will illustrate the amount of people who are actively against this barbaric means of achieving "peace".
Addil Ghafar, Swindon, UK

I would like to remind Addil Ghafar and others attending "appeasement marches", that in the 1930s public opinion also opposed "war under any circumstances" with Nazi Germany until it was forced upon them. Such Chamberlainesque comments, I fear, prove that we indeed have learnt nothing from history. Once again, the world has to look to the Churchillian leaders of America and Britain - as leaders of the free world - to ensure the liberties we are so clearly taking for granted, and help bring those freedoms to the Iraqi people and hopefully across the vastly tyrannical Middle East region.
Yoav Bezalel, Israel





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