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Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 09:50 GMT
Protesters join huge anti-war march
Student Ben Finden sets off to the anti-war march from Cardiff
Cardiff student Ben Finden prepares for the anti-war march
Thousands of anti-war protestors have left Wales for London to take part in one of the biggest demonstrations ever seen in the UK.

Around 100 coaches left locations across Wales, bound for London, with many other protestors heading for the huge march by rail.

Yvette Roblin
Yvette Roblin has not marched since the 1950s

Organisers have predicted that more than 500,000 people will take part in the London protest against war in Iraq, with marches also planned for Glasgow, Belfast and cities around the world.

Twenty coaches packed with protestors left from City Hall, Cardiff, at 0800 GMT on Saturday.

Aboard one coach was 75-year-old Yvette Roblin, of Cardiff, who was preparing to take part in her first demonstration since taking part in protests against the Korean war as a student in the 1950s.

She told BBC Wales News Online: "I think Saddam is dreadful, but war isn't the way to go about things.

If as many people turn up as we hope, it must have an effect on the people making the decisions over war

Student Ben Finden

"I haven't done anything like this since I was a student at Aberystwyth, but I feel so strongly about it.

"I am not a pacifist and my husband fought in Burma, but I think Blair has lost the plot and I will never trust him again."

Taking part in his first demonstration was Cardiff student Ben Finden, 20.

"I'm going mainly to find out about the war because we haven't been told enough," he said.

Student Mina Rai
Student Mina Rai will take part in the march

"If as many people turn up as we hope, it must have an effect on the people making the decisions over war."

Also heading for her first-ever march was student Mina Rai, from Cardiff.

She said: "I'm completely against the war and I think most people are.

"It's time we went out and said 'no'."

The march in London has been organised by Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Muslim Association of Britain.

Buses at City Hall, Cardiff
Around 20 buses left Cardiff for London

Joining the coaches at Cardiff was veteran anti-war campaigner Ray Davies of the South Wales Stop the War Coalition.

Mr Davies said: "I've been coming here (City Hall) to join marches since the 1960s, but I have never seen numbers like this.

"There are activists here, but also so many people who I have never seen before who want to put pressure on Blair and Bush."

Lecturer Elin Jones, 35, from Aberystwyth, added: "I am going because I want the government to listen to us.

Ray Davies of the Stop the War Coalition
Ray Davies of the Stop the War Coalition

"I want to see if we can do something to stop the war."

The three-and-a-half mile march in London will start from two positions at midday and converge at Piccadilly Circus.

It will culminate in a rally at Hyde Park where a succession of speakers, including former US presidential candidate Reverend Jesse Jackson, will take to a stage near Speakers' Corner.

The prime minister's office said in a statement that Tony Blair "respected the views" of those taking part in the march but suggested the gesture would make little difference to government policy.


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See also:

07 Feb 03 | Politics
15 Jan 03 | Politics
15 Feb 03 | Politics
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