Worldwide Protests At Bush’s War

60,000 march in Brussels

A MONTH after the huge 15 February demonstrations, there was another rapidly organised anti-war demo in Brussels attracting 60,000.

In the LSP/MAS (The Socialist Party’s sister organisation) and International Socialist Resistance contingents, many young people shouted slogans against Bush and Blair, but also against capitalism.

Other contingents of non-aligned youth shouted slogans calling for ‘international resistance against capitalist war’.

All the parties in Belgium’s government had contingents, even a handful of VLD (rightwing liberal) MPs. Even some ministers were present, despite the government’s ban on every anti-war action in Antwerp.

On 1 March 150 anti-war activists were arrested in protests against the transport of military material through Belgium. The government led this repression but now were protesting themselves…

The demo had a weaker turn-out than a month ago, mainly because it was organised at short notice so there weren’t many posters in the streets.

We need to build a stronger local resistance against the war. Local anti-war committees can hold local actions and reach more people.

We are already organising actions on Day X, in 12 cities. Also important will be the 21 March strike called by the European Trade Union Council and backed by Belgium’s unions.

The union calls on school students and students to strike and take part in the national demo.

We support this appeal. With a strike we can have a stronger impact.

The 21 March strike and the Day X actions could mean a new step forward for the anti-war movement.

Thousands March In New Zealand

ON 15 March there was a new wave of anti-war action in New Zealand, mainly in South Island. In Christchurch, about 3,000 took part in a march against the war.

Johan Sand, Socialist Alternative, Dunedin

Dunedin’s anti-war coalition arranged its third march since January. This one gathered around 1,500 people, a good turnout as the protest was only decided on last Sunday. The demand for New Zealand’s government to withdraw all its military personnel from the Gulf was once again put forward.

A new feature is the activity among high school students, where we’re now mobilising for a protest outside McDonald’s, followed by participation in the all-night vigil on Day X. Students are keen to set up Youth Against War groups in two schools.

1,500 Strike In Belgium

ON 14 March some 1,500 school students in Sint-Niklaas in Belgium went on strike against the coming war.

Jan Vlegels, LSP Sint-Niklaas

International Socialist Resistance has been campaigning for strikes on Day X, and we put pressure on the schools and the mayor to allow our action. They agreed, and asked us to organise it practically. Perhaps they hoped this would stop future actions, especially on Day X (the mayor has called his own anti-war demo on Day X).

In our speeches we opposed the double attitude of the Belgian government, who are so-called “anti-war rebels” in NATO but on the other hand help the US army’s preparations for the war!

Brazil And Chile

IN BRAZIL 30,000-40,000 workers and youth marched through Sao Paulo to protest at the war against Iraq. The demo started as a small march of about 5,000 but grew as workers and young people joined the march.

People left bars and cafes to join the protest. A positive feature was that the demonstration was called partly as an act of solidarity with the anti-war movement in the USA.

Anti-war committees are being organised at university campuses. Trade unions are organising meetings to rally support for opposition to the war, which is still growing in Brazil and Latin America.

THE THIRD anti-war protest in Santiago, Chile mobilised over 3,000 people – twice the number mobilised for the first protest on 15 February.