BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: N Ireland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 18:27 GMT
Thousands back Belfast anti-war rally
The protesters gathered outside on Belfast City Hall
The protesters gathered outside on Belfast City Hall
Tens of thousands of people have attended what organisers have described as the biggest anti-war rally to take place in Belfast.

The crowd left the Arts College at 1430 GMT on Saturday and made their way down Royal Avenue towards City Hall.

Northern Ireland's church leaders were among many to throw their weight behind the Stop the War protest.

Eamonn McCann
We have come here in a great cause to deliver a simple message - Bush and Blair can say what they will but Ulster says no

Eamonn McCann
Anti-war activist
Archbishop Sean Brady, the Catholic Primate of All Ireland and Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Robin Eames have both issued the rally organisers with statements which were read to the protesters.

Dr Brady said: "Military action against Iraq would impose tremendous suffering on a people that has already suffered too much."

"I pray that peaceful means may yet be found to resolve this crisis which could have such devastating consequences for the world," said Dr Eames.

Speakers included Mairead Maguire of the Peace People and folk singer Tommy Sands, as well as trades union leaders.

"Ulster says no"

Mrs Maguire, who won a Nobel peace prize for her work with the Peace People, told the crowd war has had its day.

Journalist and civil rights activist Eamonn McCann drew a huge applause when he said: "We have come here in a great cause to deliver a simple message. Bush and Blair can say what they will but Ulster says no."

Rally co-ordinator Alisa Keane said she was overwhelmed by the turnout.

Anti-war rally in Dublin
About 90,000 took to the streets of Dublin
"It's more than we ever imagined and it tells Tony Blair loud and clear that this war is not in our name," she said.

Jamal Iweida, the President of the Belfast Islamic Centre, called on the people to keep fighting the sanctions imposed on Iraq, which he claimed had caused the deaths of a million children.

"I think that war is going to happen unfortunately," he said.

Some of Northern Ireland's politicians were among those at the rally.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said: "If President Bush and Mr Blair want war, it should be war against poverty and for equality."

Alliance Party Leader David Ford also took part in the march.

"People throughout the UK will be marching to show their concern that the government is tying itself to US policy and ignoring both the international community and the real concerns of the British people," he said.

Open in new window : Anti-war protests
Your protest pictures from around the world

A Belfast based artist wrote the names of the 3,672 people killed in the Troubles in chalk on kerbstones to mark the rally.

Several hundred people attended a rally in Newry in County Down, which was addressed by SDLP MP Eddie McGrady.

He said there was not a convincing case for war.

The Stop the War Coalition is co-ordinated by NIC-ICTU, which previously has organised local peace rallies.

About 90,000 people took part in the anti-war march in Dublin, which was addressed by political, trade union and church leaders.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Maggie Swarbrick
"It was billed as the biggest ever-anti war demonstration here"

Key stories

Analysis

IN PICTURES

CLICKABLE GUIDE

TALKING POINT
See also:

07 Feb 03 | Politics
15 Jan 03 | Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more N Ireland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes