Global protests against war on Iraq

From Academic Kids

This article is about the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. For more information on this particular part of the topic, see Support and opposition for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Thousands of small and large global protests against war in general, the U.S. plan to invade Iraq and the war itself were held from 2002 to 2005.



These protests are said to be the biggest global peace protests before a war actually started; the peace movement is compared with the movement caused by the Vietnam War.

January 16, 2002

Protests were held worldwide in opposition to a war with Iraq, including in Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands, Argentina, and the United States, where Americans attended a rally in Washington, DC. The U.S. Park Police, which oversees activities on the Mall, stopped providing estimates of crowd size after being threatened with lawsuits by the organizers of the Million Man March, but said that protest organizers only had a permit for 30,000 demonstrators. According to rally organizers, 200,000+ Americans were in attendance.

October 26, 2002

A protest rally in Washington, DC to express their opposition to war against Iraq, with 40,000+ Americans in attendance, according to rally organizers.

November 9, 2002

Demonstration against the war at the end of the first European Social Forum in Florence, Italy. 1,000,000 people according to the organizers, 500,000 for local authorities.

January 18, 2003

18 January peace protest in Washington, D.C.

On January 18, demonstrations against war in general or the expected war in Iraq in particular took place in villages, towns, and cities around the world, including Tokyo, Moscow, Paris, London, Dublin, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Cologne, Bonn, Gothenburg, Florence, Oslo, Rotterdam, Istanbul and Cairo. NION and ANSWER held anti-war protests in Washington D.C. and San Francisco, California. In San Francisco, between 150,000 and 200,000 people attended the demonstration. The San Francisco police had originally estimated the crowd size at 55,000, but admitted later that they had badly underestimated the number and changed their estimate to 150,000.

February 15, 2003

15 February protest attendance
New York≥100,000
Los Angeles100,000
San Francisco65,000†
Buenos Aires60,000
São Paulo (one figure)35,000
Mexico City13,000
Cape Town10,000
São Paulo (one figure)10,000
Colorado Springs4,000
Byron Bay3,000
Phoenix, Arizona3,000
Quebec City3,000
Tel Aviv3,000
Kuala Lumpur1,500
Hong Kong1,000
New Orleans500
San Salvador250
Lawrenceville, NJ <200
McMurdo Station50
(Total of above figures)≥10,248,590
†: 14th or 16 February
Source: The Globe and Mail ( and others

Millions of people protested, in approximately 800 cities around the world, and it was listed by the 2004 Guinness Book of Records as the largest mass protest movement in history.

In Rome one to three million people were on the streets in one of the Italian capital's largest ever mass demonstrations. In London, estimates of the number of marchers varied from 750,000 (by the police) to over 1.5 million (by the organisers, the Stop the War Coalition) and was the largest demonstration in the city's history. In Berlin there were half a million in the largest demonstration for some decades. There were also protest marches all over France as well as in many other European cities, drawing attendance figures in the tens of thousands per city. In Ireland, one hundred thousand turned out in Dublin, for a parade that was originally expected to draw one fifth that number. Protesters demanded that the Irish government stop allowing the United States military to use Ireland's Shannon Airport as a trans-atlantic stop-off point bringing soldiers to the Middle East.

In Spain, Barcelona city hall and the Guardia Civil cited 1.3 million protesters, marching from the Passeig de Gràcia to the Plaça de Tetuan [1] (, though the Delegación de Gobierno said 350,000. Government sources estimated protests at 660,000 in Madrid. The small Asturian city of Oviedo (pop. 180,000) had a turnout of 100,000. [2] (

Protests were held in Australia (the previous day), South Africa, Syria, India, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Canada, and the USA, among many other countries. Hundreds of thousands turned out in New York City, near the United Nations Building. In Colorado Springs, 4,000 protestors were dispersed with pepperspray, tear-gas, tazers and batons. More than one hundred thousand people protested in Montreal despite wind-chill temperatures of below -30 °C, and in Chicoutimi 1 500 people braved a -40 °C wind-chill temperature including gusts of wind reaching 50 km/h, in what was surely one of the coldest marches on the 15th of February.

In San Francisco, a protest was held on February 16. Protest organizers and police agreed that the crowd count was 200,000. A San Francisco Chronicle photographic investigation, on the other hand, estimated that the number at the peak period was closer 65,000, although it did not say how many people attended during the entire time of the demonstration. [3] ( This dispute highlights the continuing debate over the accuracy of crowd estimates in large public demonstrations.

In Baghdad several thousand Iraqis - many carrying Kalashnikov rifles - also joined with the global protests.

Protests continued on 16 February in Australia, with 600,000 demonstrating in cities around the country.

For a list of participating localities, see [[List of locations which held 15 February 2003 war protests]].

March 15, 2003

[[image:15 March-peace-protests-mtl.jpg]]
15 March peace protest in Montreal
Another round of protests took place on March 15. Once again, Spanish and Italian cities showed some of the largest turnouts against their governments' pro-war stance. More than 400,000 protested in Milan. More than 300,000 protested in Barcelona, forming a mile-long human chain [4] (; more than 120,000 marched in Madrid [5] ( Marches also took place in Seville, Aranjuez, Palencia, and in the Canary Islands. [6] (

Many of the protests were smaller than those in the same cities a month ago; an exception was that in Montreal, which upped its turnout to 200,000 people. The turnout may have been related to solidarity against American anti-French sentiment, which was a common theme for many of the protesters.[7] ( A further 15,000 protested in Quebec City. [8] (,63,0,032003,229853.shtml) 55,000 protested in Paris, and 4,500 to 10,000 in Marseille. [9] (,151,0,032003,229861.shtml)

100,000 protested in Berlin, some 20,000 protested in Athens, close to 10,000 people marched in Tokyo, and tens of thousands in Washington DC. Organizers claimed between 30,000 and 45,000 people turned out, while The Oregonian and the Associated Press estimated between 20,000 and 25,000 people attended, closer to the number in Portland who participated in the 18 January protest. [10] ( Thousands more marched in cities worldwide including Bangkok, Seoul, Hong Kong, Amman, Calcutta, Melbourne, Christchurch, Dunedin, Paris, London, Portsmouth, Leeds, York, Exeter, Newcastle upon Tyne, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Nicosia, Moscow, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa, and Toronto, as well as cities in Yemen, Turkey, Israel, and the Palestinian territories.

[11] ( [12] ( [13] ( [14] ( [15] (

More than 6,000 candlelight vigils for peace were held on March 16 in more than a hundred countries. [16] (

March 19, 2003

A "Walkout" happened in many schools in the United Kingdom where students walked out of school, some risking expulsion and detention, in order to protest at Westminster.

After the war began

March 20, 2003

Missing image
Protesters attend a demonstration in Washington DC against President Bush's Iraq policy

The day after the invasion of Iraq had begun, thousands of protests and demonstrations around the world were held.

Demonstrations occurred in many cities across the U.S. In some cities — including Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Portland, Oregon — demonstrators blocked traffic in the city centers with the goal of shutting the cities down, resulting in the arrests of over 3,000 people nationwide. Other cities, such as Boston, Atlanta, Georgia, and Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, demonstrations were more peaceful, while in still other cities, people engaged in counter-demonstrations in support of the war.

In San Francisco 5,000 protestors, having planned weeks in advance to shut down the city on "Day X", blockaded the Financial District resulting in 2,000 arrests. Other protestors, marching as a Black bloc, attacked and looted several military recruitment centers. A Critical Mass of cyclists also attempted to block traffic to the Bay Bridge. Approximately 300 protesters demonstrated outside of the federal building. Some of the protesters apparently began vomiting on the sidewalks and plaza areas in front of the building and behind the building. Spokesmen told reporters that it was the protesters way of saying that war in Iraq "made them sick."

Seven demonstrators were arrested after attempting to block about 20 federal employees and other visitors trying to enter the building.

Over 100 protesters were arrested in Philadelphia after blocking the entrances to the federal office buildings.

In the morning of March 20, 2003, school students all over Germany held spontaneous marches in Berlin (20,000 participants), Munich (15,000), Stuttgart (15,000), Freiburg (10,000) and Kassel (5,000). Actions started also in Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Nuremberg. Some students reported that their teachers and principals had tried to prevent them from doing so. In Munich, students gathered in front of the university and then marched to the U.S. consulate where they demanded that the American flag be lowered in honor of the killed Iraqi civilians. They walked to the central place of Munich afterwards, where the demonstration turned into a mixture of party and protest. The protests in most other cities were similar.

In Switzerland, 40,000 demonstrated. In Italy, the public services union announced a strike. In Cairo, Egypt, 4,000 people protested; protesters burned a U.S. flag and riot police outnumbered the protesters.

On Luxembourg, Tageblatt newspaper reported about 15,000 students walking out of school, with those in the capital holding a spontaneous protest march to the American embassy.

In the afternoon, the general population followed the students. In Berlin, 60,000 people protested; some 200,000 people joined protests in Germany that day. In Paris, 20,000 people met in front of the American embassy. In Greece, 150,000 people protested.

In London, England, demonstrators carried signs with photos of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair with the caption "World's Biggest Terrorists"; Blair was also called a "Bliar." Two people scaled Big Ben, standing for hours below the clock's face with a sign reading "Time for Truth."

March 21, 2003

Demonstrations were organized for a second day in a row in various US cities including: Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco; and Los Angeles. In the last two cities, demonstrators closed parts of the city to traffic.

Following the demonstrations, San Francisco police claimed to have discovered a cache of molotov cocktails which they claimed were going to be used by demonstrators.

March 22, 2003 and March 23, 2003

Media report about 150,000 protesters in Barcelona, Spain (other sources say 1,000,000); more than 100,000 (other sources: up to 500,000) protesters in London, United Kingdom; some 100,000 protesters in Paris, France; at least 150,000 protesters altogether in many German cities; between 35,000 and 90,000 in Lisbon, Portugal; 10,000 to 20,000 in Greece, Denmark, Switzerland and Finland.

250,000 protesters demonstrated in New York, USA according to the German Spiegel online (,1518,241866,00.html) magazine. There were protests in Washington, D.C., Chicago and other cities, too. CNN reported a march of over a thousand protesters in Atlanta, Georgia passed by their headquarters, upset over that network's coverage of the war.

Canada likewise experienced numerous anti-war protests over the weekend. Crowds of anti-war demonstrators took to the streets of Montreal and Toronto. Calgary held three days of protests (20 March-22nd), culminating in a march which surrounded the government building and American consulate.

There were reports about massive conflicts between protesters and police in the Gulf state of Bahrain for the second day.

On the live broadcast of the 2003 Academy Awards, several presenters and recipients made various comments against the war ranging from Susan Sarandon giving a simple peace sign to Michael Moore publicly denouncing George W. Bush upon receiving his award. Critics accused the media of downplaying the demonstrations, e.g. when the Washington Post wrote about protests in Berlin: "Demonstrators also gathered in a half-dozen other German cities" (, where half-dozen included Leipzig, Halle, Dresden, Jena, Rostock, Hamburg, Munich, Köln, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Nürnberg, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Karslruhe, Heidelberg, Würzburg, Bielefeld, Hannover, Dortmund, Essen, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, Wattenscheid, Oberhausen, Duisburg, Mülheim, Herne, Hattingen, Velbert, Hilden, Datteln, Münster, Osnabrück, Bonn, Aachen, Saarbrücken, Kassel, Bremen, Oldenburg, Kiel, Heide, etc.

March 24, 2003

Media reports state at least 20,000 school pupils protesting in Hamburg, Germany. After the protest march, conflicts between police and protesters broke out in front of a US building in Hamburg. Protesters who were pushed back by the police began to throw stones, who in turn reacted with water cannons. There have since been serious discussions about police abuses in Hamburg, and political ramnifications may follow.

In the afternoon, 50,000 people protested peacefully in Leipzig following traditional prayers for peace in the city's Nikolai Church. Prayers for peace and subsequent large demonstrations at that church every Monday ('Montagsdemos') helped bring down the GDR government in East Germany in 1989. The weekly demonstrations, supported by churches, trade unions and other civic organizations, began again in January 2003 in protest to the impending invasion of Iraq.

Protest marches in the afternoon were also reported in the Geman cities of Berlin and Freiburg.

In Rome, Milano, Turin and other Italian cities, thousands of pupils and schoolteachers stayed away from school to protest against the Iraq war. The teachers union reported that 60 percent of all schools were closed. The strike had been planned weeks ago as a signal against a school reform bill, but was converted to an anti-war protest.

400 anti-war protesters tried to enter the Australian parliament in Canberra to speak to the prime minister, but were stopped by police.

In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Maoist protesters attacked shops selling Coke and US soft drinks. Protests in front of US buildings and in fast food shops were also held in Indonesia.

In Egypt, 12,000 students of two universities in Cairo protested as well as 3,000 people in the Thai capital Bangkok.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 150 people threw stones at the United States consulate. The stones were supposed to break the windows, but consulate windows are bulletproof. The protesters attacked a McDonald's and stoned and fired against a Brazilian bank agency controlled by the Brazilian government and stoned a Spanish bank. Five were arrested.

March 25, 2003

Some 100,000 people demonstrated in Syria against the USA, United Kingdom and Israel. This protest was endorsed by the Syrian government.

In the Islamic country of Bangladesh, 60,000 people demonstrated.

Media also reports protests in front of the South Korean parliament building, linked to plans to bring South Korean forces into the war. In reaction to the protests, these plans were halted.

March 28, 2003

Global protests did not stop in the second week of war. For example, there was a protest of some 10,000 Iranians in Teheran, Iran, endorsed by the government. 50,000 to 80,000 people protested in Cairo, Egypt after the Friday prayers.

Missing image
Anti-war protests London

In New York, USA, peace activists blocked Fifth Avenue. 200 people were brought to jail after a die-in in front of the Rockefeller Center. In Bogotá, Colombia there were violent conflicts in front of the US consulate. Protest marches and demonstrations happened also in Algiers, Algeria and in Bahrain, the Palestinian territories, South Korea, Indonesia and Pakistan. In Australia the police prevented protest marches. In Germany, protests by school pupils continued.

March 29, 2003

In Boston, Massachusetts 50,000 people attended the largest rally in the city since the end of the Vietnam War. Thousands of people blocked Boylston Street in a die-in along the Boston Common. A handful of arrests were made.

April 7, 2003

In Oakland, California, police fired rubber bullets and beanbags at protesters and dockworkers outside the port, injuring at least a dozen demonstrators and six longshoremen standing nearby. Most of the 500 demonstrators were dispersed peacefully, but a crowd of demonstrators was blocking traffic on private property near the port and fail to disperse after police warnings. Oakland Police Chief said demonstrators also threw objects and bolts at them, and said the use of weapons was necessary to disperse the crowd. He indicated that the rubber bullets were used to respond to direct illegal action and the he longshoremen were caught in the crossfire. A dockworker spokesman reported that police gave two minutes to disperse, then opened fire rather than making arrests. Demonstrators also claim that the police took direct aim at them, rather than firing in the air or at the ground. Thirty-one people were arrested.

October 25, 2003

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, California, Reno, Nevada and other cities around the world, in opposition to the occupation of Iraq. Protestors also advocated for the return of American troops to the United States, and for the protection of civil liberties.

June 4, 2004

More than 100,000 people demonstrated in Rome and other Italian cities during Bush's visit to Pope John Paul II, who had expressed his opposition to the war in numerous occasions. Ten thousand police patroled the conference site. The right-wing Italian government under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had supported the war; Italy's largest electric company, Enel, which is 60 percent owned by the government, forced Radio Città Aperta and Radio Onda Rossa off the air as they were preparing to broadcast extensive coverage of street protests against Bush's visit.

June 5, 2004

Missing image
Anti war protests in France

More than 12,000 people, many U.S. citizens, demonstrated against Bush and the Iraq war during his visit to Paris, France.

Protests in Amsterdam
Protests in Amsterdam

June 27, 2004

About 40,000 demonstrated against the visit of George W. Bush to the NATO summit in Istanbul, about 6,000 in Ankara, Turkey.

November 30, 2004

Two protests were held in Ottawa against George W. Bush's first official visit to Canada. A rally and march in the early afternoon was upwards of fifteen thousand (or 5,000 according to police). An evening rally on Parliament Hill drew another 15,000 and featured a speech by Brandon Hughey, an American soldier seeking refuge in Canada after refusing to fight in Iraq. Bush's stop on 1 December in Halifax, Nova Scotia drew between 4,000 and 5,000 protestors. Ottawa organizers of the protest were only given two weeks notice of Bush's visit; Halifax organizers were given under a week's notice.

March 19, 2005

Missing image
Protesters in London, where organisers claim over 150,000 marched

Protests to mark the second anniversary of start of the Iraq war were held across the world, in the U.S., UK, Canada, Central America, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. (Some protests were also held on March 20).

According to a survey (mainly of the reports of organisers), it has been claimed that, across the world, over one million people marched [17] (

The protests had been called by the Anti-war Assembly of the 2005 World Social Forum an annual conference of the alternative globalization movement which took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil on 26 January–31, and were supported by coalitions from all over the world. 20 march/ (

Common slogans and chants

Common slogans and chants at the protests included:

"Drop Bush, not bombs!"
"Bread for the World - Pretzels for Bush"
"1, 2, 3, 4, we don't want your oil war! 5, 6, 7, 8, we will not cooperate!"
"What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!"
"No blood for oil!"
"This is what democracy looks like!"
"Hey, hey, ho, ho, Bush's war has got to go!"
"Hey, hey, ho, ho, George Bush has got to go!"
"Support our troops, bring them home!"
"Bush, Blair, CIA - how many people have you killed today?"
"Bush says war, we say no!"
"They say warfare, we say welfare"
"Who let the bombs out? Bush, Blair, Sharon!"
"Lick Bush and Dick in November."

See also

External links

Further Information

es:Manifestaciones mundiales contra la guerra de Iraq fr:Manifestations mondiales contre la guerre en Irak zh:全球反对对伊战争大游行


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